Sunset Clouds and Reflections

I nearly missed this brilliant display last night. I managed to run out, nab these few shots and then the colors were already beginning to fade. While the colors were at their peak, they were just stunningly vivid. If I hadn’t looked outside when I did, I would have completely missed it.

Water Reflection of Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Water Reflection of Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Water Reflection of Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Water Reflection of Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset

Twilight Lighthouse on Redbubble

I had so much fun with the Night Sky Silhouette piece I did a while back, I wanted to play some more. Sadly, it took me way too long to carve out the time to sit down and work at my computer, but I finally managed it!

I’m SO thrilled by this one! Even more so for the fact that I didn’t have to try and drag it through three different programs to get the finished piece. I learned how to create my own brushes, which was so awesome and also such a pain (then I lost it when Photoshop crashed on me, so I really wasn’t happy that I lost over an hour’s worth of work.)

Of course I also now have this up on Redbubble with all kinds of fun options to choose from.

I love the concept of the stark silhouette against a vibrant background. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot more playing with this concept in the future.

The Moon And Mars

I completely would have missed this if Hubby hadn’t commented on how cool the moon looked last night. I wasn’t even aware you could see Mars that clearly and thought it was a plane at first. I actually had to look it up to figure out what I had seen. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed it quite so distinctly before. In the main image it is just a tiny dot that you can barely see, but it was very bright to the naked eye.

The one below completely blows out the moon and Mars is more of a streak rather than a dot, but you can see the positioning. That and I really liked the odd pattern of light that shows around the moon in this even if the image itself isn’t great.

Overexposed Partial Moon With The Streak of Mars
Overexposed Partial Moon With The Streak of Mars

I’m so glad I decided to grab my camera. I’ve been having fun playing with night/star shots lately. I have plans, weather permitting, to go out next week during the Perseid meteor shower peak to see what I can pull off. Keep your fingers crossed for me that the weather cooperates!

NEOWISE And The Big Dipper

I honestly have no clue how well this image will show. If possible, click on it to make it bigger (or whatever to get it to fit in your screen as you need to see it all at once).

I created this image from a photo I took while I was doing comet watch. The night BG went out with me, she asked if it was possible to get the big dipper and the comet in the same shot because she wanted it for the background on her phone. While it was easy enough to frame them together, getting everything else right to get her what she was looking for really wasn’t easy at all.

Along with most of the typical difficulties I had in trying to get a clean shot of the comet, fuzziness and streaky stars and correct exposure with the urban light pollution,  I had to try and get ALL of the elements she wanted working together at the same time.

She really wanted to be able to clearly see both the comet and the big dipper, but she also wanted enough other stars to be seen, but not so many that you lost the big dipper.

It seemed like no matter how I processed it in photoshop, there was always at least one aspect that didn’t work. Too many stars. Not enough stars. A loss of the comet tail. A brightness fade from a corner of the shot because of ambient lighting on the horizon. I would get one aspect the way I really liked it and another one would be way off. I got her a version that worked okay, but she didn’t absolutely love. Still, it was close enough so I called it good.

Then I spent umpteen hours playing with learning how to photo stack, working on edits for MC’s senior pictures and learning how to fix a couple of issues (glare on glasses lenses is an absolute bear if it is bad enough or in the wrong spot). In the process, I figured a few things out that I thought might make a difference on BG’s photo.

So I dug in and played.

Multiple layers, hours and various techniques later, I have pretty much exactly what she asked for. It isn’t perfect by a long shot and is pretty much only really good for what BG wanted to use it as, but I’m exceptionally pleased with it.

The image is very much still a photo. All I really did was play with the kinds of techniques you might see in a darkroom for film/print processing. Mostly.

Now if I could just figure out how to make the stars and comet just a bit bigger and noticeable, It’d be near perfect for what I really wanted out of this one. As it is, I still managed to get damn close.

*In case you can’t click the first image…

NEOWISE & The Big Dipper
NEOWISE & The Big Dipper

Comet Watch: NEOWISE Part 2

I really wanted to see if I could manage to get shots of NEOWISE that were a bit better than my first attempt. I decided to use my wide angle lens instead of my zoom. They are much clearer shots, but obviously not nearly as close.

I’m really pleased with them, though. There is something about the clouds that were around that really add something to the photos.

Even though these aren’t as close as the first round, I like that these also help to show how small this comet really is and how difficult it may be to spot in the sky with the naked eye. Even knowing where it was and what to look for, it still took me a while before I found it last night.

NEOWISE Comet
NEOWISE Comet
NEOWISE Comet
NEOWISE Comet
NEOWISE Comet
NEOWISE Comet

Comet Watch

These are a long way from being NASA quality, but I managed to get some shots of NEOWISE!

Ever since I started seeing images of this comet, I wanted to see if I could get a shot of it. I’ve been trying to find it in the sky for the last couple of days, but there have been clouds in the area.

I also wasn’t entirely sure, even after looking into it and seeing suggestions on how to view it, what I was doing. All the photos made it look like it would be this bright thing in the sky and obvious, but it REALLY isn’t. You almost can’t even see it with the naked eye, at least if you are near any kind of city light. For me, it looked a bit like a smudgy cloud streak.

About the only thing that gets this to look that bright and noticeable is a longer exposure through a camera. Which I really should have figured out earlier, but… sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake.

After spending 20 or so minutes thinking I found it, then realizing that no matter how long of an exposure I did, that bright white dot didn’t have a tail and was actually a star, I finally noticed a smudgy streak a little farther to the right of where I was looking. Once I spotted it, I just played around with a lot of different settings trying to get the best shot I could with what I had.

NEOWISE Comet
NEOWISE Comet

Obviously some came out better than others, but these are probably the best of the bunch. I am also using my zoom lens, but I wanted to get at least a little of the landscape perspective in the shot, so I didn’t zoom too far. These are all different settings and you can see the difference in the slight lines for stars instead of the more pinpoint dots.

NEOWISE Comet
NEOWISE Comet

If you are wanting to get your own glimpse of NEOWISE, look to the northwest once the stars are out. Find the big dipper and then look a little below and to the right for that odd little smudge. Obviously, the less light pollution the better, but I’m close to a city and still managed this. Everything I’ve read says that this may still be visible for another week or so, so there is still time.

Happy comet hunting!

*Note to self: I do not need new camera equipment to take shots of stars no matter how cool it would be. Rinse and repeat until it sticks.

 

Dusty Sunset

The last couple of days we’ve had some amazing sunsets thanks in part to the Saharan dust in the air.

Yesterday in particular. All day you could see the haze in the air, so I knew if the majority of the clouds dispersed, we would have another beautiful one. I was not disappointed in the least. Obviously, because I couldn’t just choose one to share today.

I was out taking photos for about an hour and took over a hundred photos, most of them turning out really wonderful with only slight differences between each image, hence the difficulty in deciding which ones to share.

Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset

I tested out a new sunset spot and, for the most part, I really like it because I can get the whole sky. I’m not a huge fan of the power lines, but I’m not going to be too picky.

Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset

When the sun got to right at the horizon line, it started to get this awesome ombre look.

Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset

Some of my favorite skies are the ones that look almost like they were painted. There were a couple of points through this sunset that the sky definitely came close last night.

Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset

End Of The Day

Dance picture day yesterday turned into “take all the pictures” day.

I always take photos of BG in her costumes at home, or as much as I can without making her change a billion times. For the first time, she allowed me to also take some outside the studio where they have their dancer silhouette on the wall. It is the standard parent kind of shot, but she’s never let me get one before, so I was really excited to finally be able to.

And, DAMN!! Those are some of the best photos I’ve take of her. I’m talking, a couple of them at least, look like the kind of shots you’d see on a magazine cover. It makes me so damn tempted to break my “no photos of the kids” rule here on my blog just to share it.

It helps that two of the costumes in those photos are some of my favorite ever, the top one being the costume for opening tap this year. It is this phenomenal get up and she absolutely rocks the hell out of it. I cannot get over how stunning she looks in it. He teacher even stole the image (with permission) and posted it on the studio’s page because it is so classic for the look and feel they try to get with that performance.

Since I was already deep into photo mode, I was keeping a close eye on the weather and lighting as I still had another set of photos MC wanted me to take to include in his “senior photo package” we’ve been working on. Shockingly, everything came together and we had a gorgeous evening with a long golden hour that was absolutely perfect.

I dragged both him and BG out because I also wanted to try and get a good one of the two of them together and we spent probably an hour taking photos. I took nearly 400 pictures in all yesterday (and no, they weren’t all good, not by a long shot) and, I think, managed to finish up the pictures that MC wanted. Hopefully. I did also manage to get a couple of really good ones of the two of them together so I have some new photos for my family photo walls.

Of course, because I was already there and the sky was gorgeous, I made them wait just a little longer after we were done before we could go home so I could grab a couple of sunset shots as well.

MC made it abundantly clear that he would prefer that if I had my camera nearby that someone else should be in the driver’s seat of the car because I spend as much time trying to see what’s going on with the sky as I do the road. He was teasing, but… he also isn’t entirely wrong. It is such a joy to drive with two newish driving teenagers in the car pointing out every single thing you do that isn’t strictly by the book.

In all, it was a great day. BG got her dance photos out of the way (I nailed the car dressing room perfectly). I was able to finish up with MC’s photos and got a few fun ones of my own along the way.

Of course, it was also a typical roulette wheel of “What New Random Loop Is Going To Get Thrown At You Today” kind of day as well because our mayor announced a mandatory mask requirement for all indoor public spaces (with a few strict exceptions) that is going to last for at least the next couple of weeks. This covers the time frame for recital, so I have zero clue how the studio is going to work that one out as it includes the dancers on stage.

I’m in “wait and see” mode again, but I still have to make sure she has everything that she needs, including new tights and a few extra small things. It is so odd waiting on things I ordered knowing there is a high chance they won’t be used, at least not this year. We may hear more today when she goes to the studio for her last ballet class before recital.

At least I have pictures!

Strawberry Moon

I made the time last night to attempt to get shots of the strawberry moon. I lucked out in so many ways!

I found a new amazing spot to get moon shots. In the process, I also found a new amazing spot for sunsets, but that’s for another post. The sunset spot is in a different location, but I was stoked to finally find places nearby with a phenomenal horizon view that wasn’t on a busy road. The location for these wasn’t quite ideal, but it was still so much better than most I’ve attempted.

Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon

 

Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon

While these aren’t perfect, I was still impressed with what I got as I really kind of wasn’t prepared and I felt rushed. It gives me a place to start doing more of this.

Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon

And…

I got to do this with Hubby which was amazing and reminded me of what we used to do very early on when we got together. I was taking a beginner photography class at the community college at the time. He would drive around while I took photos. Multiple times those drives sent us chasing after hot air balloons in an effort to get close enough to get some good photos. It was this amazingly fun time and something we both loved to do, but because we started on kids right away since we wanted to keep them close in age with my oldest, our photo outings didn’t last terribly long.

It was so much fun last night to do this with him. I think it just might be something we try to do more often now that we are actually in a position to do so again. We had so many reasons not to for years and kind of forgot how much we both enjoyed this, even if all he did was drive me around and follow my crazy prompts of “Oh!! Stop here! No! A little more that way!” all while watching for other cars to be able to actually do those things.

It wasn’t quite as wild as some of our adventures in trying to get me in position for just the right shot, but it reminded us of a really simple pleasure, which is exactly what we needed.

Twilight Silhouetted Trees

The sky was so pretty last night. Of course, I forgot to take my camera with me to dance, so I had to scurry home and grab it before I could even attempt to capture it. The color fade was so subtle in the east that I couldn’t get it to really show on my camera. I was able to grab a few shots of the more dramatic colors in the west, though.

I had hoped to get it while it was still mostly a vibrant orange on the horizon, but it took just a bit too long to get my stuff and get back out. I still love the colors in this even if it isn’t what I had in mind.

Painting The Mood

Of all the “accidents” I managed, this one is has a different kind of interest for me as it almost has a painting like look to it. There are so many times I’ll look at the sky, especially a sunset, and it looks like it has been painted there. I think this is one of the only times I’ve ever managed to flip that on it’s head and get a photo that looks like a painting of the sky.

Continuing The Theme

Here is another moody one from the series of photos I got “accidentally”. It fits my mood at the moment. Can you believe that my cough is actually worse after having gone to the doctor? And not in that “it sometimes gets worse before it gets better” kind of way, either. For this reason alone, I’m ready for spring and warmer temps. This crap is… well… crap.

All About The Timing

And I missed that timing by a bit. I had planned to try and get out and get some good shots of the moon when it came up last night because we had a rare clear day. The timing ended up messed up because I also had to go pick up BG from dance. I had to be in the car driving when some of the best shots were available.

I managed to grab this one after we got back into the neighborhood, but I didn’t have much time and hadn’t brought my tripod with me, so I had to settle for using my car’s roof for stability. I still love this because there is the deep color from the sky, but I hate that I didn’t have time to set it up to also get the detail of the moon instead of a whited out ball.

It was so much prettier than these pictures show. You can see a few wispy clouds in this one, but there were a few more around, giving the sky some really interesting features. It was especially pretty when you have the moon rising in one direction with the deep blues and the sun setting in the other, with vivid oranges, reds and yellows. (Yes, I have one or two of those I’ll be sharing soon)

I was ticked I missed the couple of geese flyovers that passed near the moon as that would have been a killer shot. I did managed to grab a couple with them in the sunset, but I’m not certain how great those shots came out.

I hated feeling rushed, but at least I got out and tried.

Dreaming Of Warmer Days

I’m digging deep for this one and is why it isn’t nearly the quality I usually post. This is from a 2007 Florida vacation. Right now, I’d give a lot to be on a beach with warm temps. Not just because I wouldn’t feel like I’m constantly freezing, but because it SHOULD also mean that I’m not coughing anymore. Even with meds, that crap isn’t budging. Are you as sick of hearing me whine about my cough as I am of coughing?