It’s mid-March already.

Spring is just around the corner now. We’ve moved the clocks up and suffered through the first week of time change. Seems silly we still do that. It likely never did make a difference.

Last snow coating.
Last snow coating.

It snowed on March 8. The night it snowed it was very cold and fluffy stuff that wasn’t being whipped around by the wind. So it light laid on top of everything.

Is anyone in there?

Once the sun came up above the clouds things started to melt quickly. First the sidewalks but by the end of the day it was pretty much over. It may not be the last snow but it’s going to be close to the last storm we have. It’s snowed here in May so we are not out of the woods yet.

What I do hope happens is we get a respite for a few months from the wetness. Our ground is so saturated with water it’s difficult to even walk on top of it much less manage it with machines. I try not to wish that it doesn’t rain but we could use a little break. Just a couple of weeks of no rain to let the water run down to the tables or rivers.

Lit tree after a snow storm.

This is what it looked like around 10 in the morning. Snow is almost gone and the sun would appear soon.

Have a nice day!

One last snow storm.

It’s February 21.

I woke this morning with ice covered snow. Snow is not unusual for this time of the year. It feels strange only because I think I’m done with the winter of 2018/2019. I am ready for spring.

Like last year, I’ve not had to use my snow thrower to move large amounts of snow as in years past. It sits quiet, thankfully, in the barn. I don’t have to work in the weather now so I let the snow do what the snow is gonna do.

Today it’s been warmer than it’s been since I’ve been physically here this winter. The current temperature in the front yard is 55ºF so the snow is quickly melting. Because of the temperature difference between the ground and the air we get the low fog and cloud layers in the morning.

Sunrise after a snow storm.

I missed the 65º “Indian Summer” when I was gone for work a few weeks ago. So the 55º was as warm as I’ve seen it this winter. We normally get a few days like this each year in between the really cold weather we otherwise have.

It’s fun to take the drone up through the fog in the clear above. Things look so different up there where the birds fly.

I don’t know how to get a shot like this without the use of a drone (or helicopter).

The lonely tree; It now has a large broken branch from all the ice and wind.

This winter has been nice. At night when there is no wind Its super quiet around here above a layer of ice. I’m glad we have four seasons here.

I’m glad spring is just around the corner.

More snow; More cold.

Yesterday we had another snow storm roll through this area. The snow didn’t amount to much. We did get more than was predicted which left quite the wintery landscape behind.

The above was video taken from my drone while the following is from my Nikon camera using an intervalometer:

I’m almost never in a position to use my nicer cameras to do time lapse photography like this. It’s not hard but quite time consuming so if you have to baby sit the camera you can’t be working like I have been lately. But stuck in my home and working at my desk allowed me the time to monitor the camera while it took 1000 images through the day.

Ironically, the above uploaded on to YouTube is about half the actual resolution of the images. You tube and other services take out so much of the quality to save storage space and not use so much bandwidth.

The camera was set up for manual images with fixed focus, fixed aperture and fixed f-stop. All of the rest was done with software. I use Adobe Lightroom to do the heavy image edits, crops and the like. And then LRTimelapse (Version 4) to put together the time lapse. LRT is very cool and powerful software.

And the drone also takes some very unique images in raw image format so that the image can be manipulated very easily post production.

The Lonely Tree in undisturbed snow after a storm.

I like the high contrast photography I learned when I was 16/17 years of age. Back then I would look through all the Ansel Adams photographs in awe of how he accomplished such unique high-contrast black and white photography.

He’s gone now but I can’t wait to tell him about drones.  He would carry his camera gear on his back, spend days/weeks in the wilderness to get the perfect image.

I flew my drone from my front porch in between work meetings to get this one. Things have changed. Photography has really changed even in my lifetime.

Stay warm!

Summer.

I miss the summer days …

I was looking for a file on my computer and ran into this video. She has blood on her talons so has been clearly successful in her hunting.

Behind her is the tall grass while we were harvesting hay.

Then I look outside my window between meetings and see this:

Behind this snow storm is wind and bitter cold. I’m not going to complain because it’s only supposed to get down to about 5º here. In Ohio it’s going to be -15º.

I’m rooting for spring to come soon while I disconnect all the exterior water pipes from the high pressure water lines inside our home.

Total Lunar Eclipse

Well, it took me 22 days to write my first post in 2019. Happy new year to you!

All this “Blood Moon” talk hyped up this event which is really just the earth passing in front of the sun casting it’s shadow on the moon (lunar eclipse). It does glow an odd color when in totality. That’s about it though. All the drama in the “news papers” made it more than it really was.

I did get a nice photo of the moon in totality.

The “Blood Moon”, January 21, 2019

At my home in Virginia the sky is always very clear if there are no clouds. This night happened to be one of those super clear nights so taking a picture of the moon would normally be a piece of cake. Enter the 40 mile an hour wind, 10º temperature and the location of the moon at 90º to the horizon.

The photo was taken with a 600mm lens which is not the smallest, lightest lens in the world. Attached to the camera and a tripod it’s steady but unwieldy. The wind was so strong that I had to use f-stops much higher than I normally would so the photo was not blurry. Had this been in the summer, for instance, I could have laid on my back and peered into the sky indefinitely. Not this night!

I did three sessions each about 5 minutes long. At the end of each session I could not feel my fingers! This photo came at the end of the last session after I dialed in the light and shutter speeds that I could use with a shaky camera(man). It wasn’t until I saw it on my computer that I knew I didn’t have to go out for a fourth session. Shew!

The camera was pointing straight up in the sky making it very difficult to focus on the moon and set the camera up to take the photo. But I finally managed to get a good one. It would have been fun to spend more time outside but it was just too uncomfortable.

Some astronomers have captured a meteor striking the moon during totality. That would have been cool to witness.  You can find that on the web if you are interested. I don’t think it was fake news. It’s always possible these days.

Lunar eclipse are fun but if you really want to see something cool make plans to see a total solar eclipse! That’s a sight to see for sure. The next one in the USA is on April 8, 2024. I’ll be there!

I hope you have had a nice day today.

Christmas Day 2018

Still kinda groggy from all the travel we didn’t jump right out of bed this morning. Well, I didn’t. Gloria did like every other day. I don’t understand how she does that.

Since we have not spent any time as a family in 2018 being together is what these few days are about. I tried to find evidence that all four of us had been together yet this year and couldn’t find any. So this is the first time we’ve all been together in the same place this year.

That said, I took some time to take some high quality photos of all of us together so I can make nice prints to hang on our wall at home.

Christmas Day 2018, Boulder Colorado

Olivia has a new boy cat named Tron. He has a sweet personality but so very shy. It took some time for him to warm up to me. But once he did it was mostly like I wasn’t there. Especially when he spotted a squirrel the same size as himself through a window as I got my cameras together to take pictures of the girls.

Tron, the boy cat in natural inside light with a 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens.

He loves being outside. Those big ears of his make it clear he can basically hear anything. When I went out to set up for some photos he followed me out. He is not one to bounce into a scene instead making sure that the coast is clear.

Is it safe to come out?

I’m standing 50 feet away with a 600mm lens. He did come out to play while I set up. When Olivia brought Tron home I was worried that he would not stay close to home. But that will not be a problem. He definitely knows where home is. Now I just worry about his size. The squirrels are larger than he is. He is clearly growing from his kitten pictures but still so tiny. Man, does he love his mama. There is safety there.

One of the main reasons I wanted to bring my cameras, not that I would ever leave them behind, was to take a contrasting photo from one that was taken by a professional photographer in Memphis back in 1999. We had been taking photos for some time when the girl became restless complaining about being tired and not wanting to take photos anymore. The photographer said, “OK, let’s take a break!” At that moment the girls just relaxed. Then all I heard was “click, click, click, click …” when this photo was taken:

Memphis, c. 1999

It’s one of my all time favorite pictures of me and my girls. I realize that it captured a moment in time that will never be revisited in the same way. They will grow up. They will move on. It didn’t seem like it then while we were immersed in the chaos of raising a family. It wasn’t until many years later I realized just how special this photo would become. They will never be that tiny again.

I wanted to take a current photo in a similar setting.

21 years later.

Time flies. People would tell me when I was a younger man that you need to enjoy every moment because at some point these moments will seem fleeting. That time is now. Hold on tight if you’ve got ’em!

We enjoyed a quiet Christmas evening together. Soon we will part ways again. It won’t be too long before we get back here again.

Christmas Eve 2018

It’s Christmas Eve already. Everyone is inside for the day awaiting Santa’s arrival. I hope he can find us here!

We’ve spent the better part of the last 3 days in torrential rain on interstate highways in the Pickle. This day there was barely a cloud in the sky. It’s hard to get contrasty photos when there is harsh sunshine but I sent the drone up anyway to take a few photos and video.

Sunset Canyon at Sunset

Speaking of driving, we had the most interesting experience when we met, completely randomly, some of our family while driving down Interstate 70 just east of Wichita, Kansas. I got a call on my cell phone from Karen who had just passed us. Of course, it’s hard to miss the big green machine we have named “The Pickle”:

The Pickle with family

So we took that selfie with the drone. The odds of this happening again are so slim. The odds of this happening at all is probably more slim. Hey, the Pickle has a new paint job on the roof which has repaired all of the water leaking we had with this machine when we bought it.

The Pickle is outfitted with enough seating for 5 people comfortably and a full sized bed for two people to sleep comfortably. It’s really nice to be able to get up and move around when you travel 1,700 miles like this. Of course, inside I also have all of the electricity we need to run our laptops, charge batteries, phones and the like.

It’s been a labor of love getting this machine back road ready. When I bought it the machine was a bit of a mess. Slowly I’ve repaired all of the bigger problems we’ve had with it. There is still more to do. I look forward to taking it on motorcycle trips when the weather turns warm again.

We searched pretty hard for accommodations for our travel here. How Gloria managed to get this close is pretty amazing. We are just a stone’s throw from being together which has worked out very well for us.

Our AirBNB

We attended the local Unity Church for their version of the Christmas message tonight. It was an interesting mix of various rituals. Tomorrow we will attend a NatGeo exhibition of “Living with Wolves” at the Boulder Museum.

We’ve spent most of our time in Boulder on Pearl Street where most of the restaurants are located. There is one in particular we enjoy named Wonder Press. Wonder is a 100% organic, cold-pressed juice and nut milk shop located in Boulder, Colorado. They also serve up tasty snacks like avocado toast with radishes. Yum.

The weather here has been clear and cold but from what I am reading that is going to change the day after Christmas where they are predicting a winter storm to race across the US dropping a wide swath of snow. This could change the way we travel home. The Pickle is not 4×4 so we have to be careful to avoid large quantities of snow. I did pick up some chains before we left on this trip but still hope we don’t have to use them.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

First Light; November 19, 2018.

I’m not a morning person. Today I made an exception.

For what ever reason I got up early and looked out the window and saw the foggy-ness before the sun had come up. Others in the house had to get up early as well to go to meetings and such so there was movement that probably woke me. We swapped inside cat with outside cats. I ran out the front door with my drone.

The air was calm and cold with fog so thick you couldn’t see very far. Mongrel and I were gearing up for a walk together like we do some mornings. Normally it’s down the gravel road to keep paws as dry as possible. Today it will be in the tall grass thick with moisture which he didn’t seem to mind. I found this interesting and fun to watch. Normally he does not like his paws to be wet like this. Today he was wet to the middle part of his body. Totally soaked. Remember, it’s like 40º!

I was struck by how cool the sun looked coming through the fog in some of my favorite places at home.

I never leave without at least one camera. This has paid off a number of times. It felt good today  when I reached for it and took this photo.

The promise at first light; My day yet to be written.

The light was super soft and contrasty. This is the “lonely tree”; a name I gave it because it’s all alone in the field near our home. It’s a frequent subject of some of my high-contrast photography.

The photo is not edited and I used no filters. That’s the way it looked this morning. Very moody. I recall thinking, “I can do anything today!” as I walked with Mongrel who was beside himself exploring this “new” landscape wet from head to paw.

Just before our walk I flew the drone up to get this composite photography of the sun rising. Totally different perspective than being on the ground shrouded by the thick fog.

Drone’s eye view of the sunrise above the morning fog.

Looking away from the sun.

Mongrel patiently waited on me to finish taking my photographs. He does this. He seems to know that when the “bird” lands that we will be on our walk soon. When the drone powers down he gets all giddy, arches his back, bends his tail and hops towards the way he wants to go. He knows we’re going for a long walk.

Can we walk now?

So we walk. We love our walks together. He leads.

Walking with a panther

I follow.

First Snow of 2019

Tower 2 – First Snow 2018

This week we experienced the first snow of the 2018/2019 winter season. It’s a little early for this much snow so soon but not unusual either. I have some media to share with you

The first to are some time lapse videos I put together from my cheapo Raspberry Pi cameras in the windows. These computers put three time lapse sequences a day together for me so there is nothing I have to do to make these happen.

I was a little surprised at how heavy the snow was at times. Normally we don’t see this heavy of snow this early in the season. It will snow then go away. 5″ of snow is a little unusual. To have this much show meant that it snowed from morning until evening on this day (November 15).

Weather station in heavy snow.

I didn’t have to look too far to find the deer finding refuge from the wind in the tall brush eating the leaves still on some of the trees there.

Deer

Deer

This blue spruce tree was bought in 1999 from a nursery in Frederick Maryland to use as a Christmas tree when we lived there. The idea was that we would plant the tree once we moved to our new home. We did do that when we moved in here. First it was planted by the mailbox and then we moved it to this place after we wanted to plant the silver maple trees down the driveway. It has thrived in this location.

Christmas Tree – Blue Spruce

It’s sunny out now and 40º. The snow is melting off of the paved surfaces and things turning back to normal. The snow on the grass/ground is going to hang around for a while.

Have a good weekend!

November?

It’s already November.

This particular day it was rainy but warm. Normally the colors of fall happen around mid October but this year it’s the first week in November.

Sugar Maple trees in my front yard

A cold front is coming marching through today with warm air ahead of the front that’s causing it to be all raining looking. Then the puffy clouds did finally dump 1.3 inches of rain today as of this writing.

Cold front November 2, 2018

I’ve got a photo session with a friend tomorrow morning so I hope the rain is going to be gone. Maybe there will be some nice landscape photos to be had. We won’t know until we get there.

One of us is faking. One of us isn’t.

It was a very long day at work followed by helping a friend move a motorcycle. Then date night which was the fun part of the day.

I hope you’ve had a nice day!