Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Then the clouds

Being without s sidecar to ride here in New Mexico, I have focused on my photography hobby.  Out walking, was able to grab a few shots during the day.

Lying partially hidden in the sage brush, Grandma Doe guards the nursing area 
of the mule deer fawns while their mothers are off grazing. 

How do we know she is an older doe? The younger ones have the brown coloring up their necks and covering their faces. Grandma is showing her age with grey on the face and neck.
The fawns lie still, well hidden from the view of any predator... or photographer.

Grandma is content to protect her brood. 

Ever wonder why they call Angel Fire, Angel Fire? 

It's because of the occasional climate conditions that spawn a brillant sunset show. This is only the second time in six weeks we have seen the sky light up like this.

The first time I witnessed it years ago, my reaction was there was a severe forest fire on the mountain. 

Was able to grab a few more night sky shots before the clouds moved in last week blocking the stars from being visible at night.  With few clouds to deal with, made another venture out to capture the night sky. 

Why is the Milky Way more visible in the southern sky than the northern sky?  I do not know.  Anyone?

Why does it stretch from north to south and not east to west?

And why is it more colorful near the horizon than when looking straight up?
If you know the answers, please comment as I don't know.

Looking south from the pine forest, Saturn on the left and Jupiter, the larger brighter light on the right, are very visible in the southern sky next to the Milky Way.

Well... was lucky once more to capture a shooting star, the Milky Way and both planets in the same photo. The long dark hours and cold are now meaningless after capturing this image.

Was asked about a falling star versus a shooting star. From what I have observed, a falling star will drop more slowly toward the horizon with a fading glow, to disappear behind the tree line. 

 While a shooting star zips across the heavens in a burst of energy giving no indication it is heading toward earth. That's my amateur observation.

In googling the two events, many journal articles say they are the same thing... hmmm.  Scientific speaking, they may be correct. But that's not what I observed in the night sky. I'll stick with my definitions.

This week afternoon clouds move in, lingering around till early morning. 
So no more sky photo shoots, leaving me time for editing the shots I did capture.

With the tropical storm Marco and the hurricane Laura threatening the Houston area, 
Amparo and I delayed our return to Texas for another week. 

Am getting anxious to pull my sidecar rig out for a ride. 

Be safe my friends, mask up and keep your distance.


Sunday, August 16, 2020

Persistance Pays Off

Returned for a third try at night sky photography. With any luck, maybe getting a shooting star photo.  This time went out at 1:30 and stayed until 4 am. 

Jerry correctly identified the bright spot as the planet Jupiter with Saturn hovering over its shoulder. Is amazing how bright they both are. Clouds were drifting across the sky blocking portions then opening up new lights all night long.

Could not see anything in the darkness around me, suddenly a bark on my left was answered by another bark on my right. Then down front a high pitched snort followed by a meow behind me. A herd of elk had stumbled on to my location in the dark. They can see quite well in this pitch black.  But they were not happy this strange creator was standing in their feeding path. Finally they moved on in the night. My heart rate slowly returned to normal and I continued shooting. 

Around three thirty the event I was seeking happened. The only shot in the hundreds of photos taken over the last three nights was finally in the camera. A shooting star, or meteorite.
Was not skill but persistence to get the shot I wanted.

A small cloud drifted in to obscured Saturn from view, but Jupiter is as bright as ever and the milky way stood tall.

It's four am, 45 degrees, I'm cold, tired. Time to get some sleep. 

Stay safe and healthy ya'll.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Shooting the Night Sky

Well, running water photos has run its course.... I know, a poor pun. Learned what I wanted to learn on how best to capture silky water. Now on to another technique... dusk and night sky photography.

Here are a few samples of what I have learned so far. 

Cool Sunset
From the rains on the left to sun lit clouds on the right, blue sky in between... over the Rocky Mountains.

Blue Hour 
After the sun sets and before complete darkness, is called the blue hour.

Dead Pine
On to capturing the milky way rising from the pines a few hours later.

Taos Lights
Am guessing the bright spot is the sun reflecting off a satellite. It is there every night in the same location.

Really wanted to capture a shooting star, but that happens by chance. 
The ones I saw were a short streak then gone. Split seconds... 

How were these images captured? By a SONY RX10 III camera, lens set at 24 mm, f-stop 2.4, ISO 3200, exposures at 15, 20 and 30 seconds, with a two second delay.  Pulled out an old very heavy tripod to eliminate camera shake. 

And so the COVID-19 normal is avoiding others, learn something new, practice and sanitize. Now you know taking these photos I was far removed from the danger of meeting other people.  Though the danger of bears, cougars or other critters that go thump in the night, well... don't stray far from the vehicle. 

Stay healthy and safe my friends,


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

August Photo Competition

Though we're still in New Mexico, submitted online my three entries in the Photography Club's August Photo Competition.  Our Club Competition Officer is keeping the club together by continuing the monthly challenge inspite of not being able to meet in person. Is the only way we can see what each of the other members is working on. 

This month's challenge categories are:

1. FIREWORKS; a photo of fireworks or people and fireworks

2. OPEN: This can be any image a member wishes to submit for judging

3. OUT OF THE BOX: This is the wild card category for this month. The challenge is to create an image that does not look like a normal photograph or the subject matter is out of the usual. 

Here are the entires I submitted:

FIREWORKS: Street Fair
Took this photo in Barcelona, Spain during a nighttime street fair. The fireworks are mounted on long poles, showering the people standing underneath with sparks.

OPEN:  My Quiet Space
This photo was taken in Reykavik, Iceland. This lady found a nice quiet warm spot out of the harsh cold winds to enjoy her coffee and a good read. 

OUT OF THE BOX: Mariposa No. 9
Mariposa is Spanish for butterfly. 
Created this artwork image using several photos in a composite.  What do you see?

Next week we'll know how they did.

If you are wondering where are the sidecar riding photos, my sidecar rigs are back in Houston. We left Texas in a hurry to leave before the Stay At Home order was issued for our county. Now we are daily checking the Covid count numbers for Houston, then look at where they are here. Since we have been here, the positive covid count in our county has risen by over 20,000. Here, in the same time period,  it went up by seven. Easy decision, stay here for as long as we can.

Stay safe, stay healthy, mask up and sanitize.


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Rainy Day Editing

Experiencing rainy days this week so after doing the household chores, 
focused some energy on editing indoor photos. 

The more I use and experiment with Luminar for my photo editing the more I like it. 

Listening to the rain, sitting back with a book, a bowl of sorbet and a Texas drink.

A gap in the rain clouds allowed afternoon sunlight to stream in, highlighting
 the collection of Native American images

By evening the rain clouds have moved east, allowing us to sit around the fire pit 
enjoying a soft cool breeze and a Cuba Libre.

Each of these photos took a different approach in editing to get the right mood and feel. 
In all, a learning process.

Ride safe and mask up.