I actually took a moment to grab my camera the other day. It’s kind of sad that doing so is on the rare side for me right now. I am SO close to being done with my room, which I hope means I’ll get back into some kind of a normal routine, but I’m just not sure that is going to happen soon. The to do list that has blown completely out of proportion as I’ve worked on this project is also looming.
It is my goal to try and take a little bit of time back for my camera when the room is done, though. Now to see if I can actually pull that off.
I rarely get a good vantage of the storms that come through because of how we are situated. Last night, even though it isn’t an awesome shot, it is still kind of impressive because the clouds were ominous looking.
We were treated with another extremely showy sunset last night. Also with so much pink in the sky it seemed a little unreal.
There was a big difference last night, though. All that gorgeous pink? It was in the east. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a sky quite like it. On the horizon to the west where the sun set, where you almost always see the most brilliant of colors, only had a low band of paler pink clouds near the horizon. There were some other, fluffy clouds in the area, but they didn’t get tinged and stayed on the white/gray side.
Until you hit about the midway point of the sky looking to the east, then it just got amazing. Those clouds just lit up in these amazing waves of pink across the sky, getting deeper and more vibrant in color the closer you got to the eastern horizon where the clouds were a little thicker.
It was so unusual to see the normal color clouds closer to the sunset like that. There was a somewhat distinct line between where the color was and where it wasn’t.
The above photo is facing west, the first photo is towards the east. I really kept expecting the color to start hitting some of these other clouds, but it never did.
We got that pink tinge to everything again, too. It was like a classic golden hour, except it was pink.
I very narrowly avoided missing this stunning show last night. There are times that I really hate the angle and positioning of my house and not having a window in a good position to show off the sunset.
When BG and I stepped outside to take pictures, everything had a pink tinge to it. It was really incredible.
It was a day behind our usual, but yesterday I spent the day getting all of our inside decorations taken down. It is always a little depressing seeing the house so bare again after a month of lights and colors.
It was only the inside that got done. The outside is still buried in snow, so that is going to wait. We talked about it and decided to most likely wait until the contractors are done in a couple of weeks because they will be working in that area and we will have to haul all of those bins back out after they are done to clean up all the drywall dust anyway. It saves some work and headache that way.
When I was at the point of doing some cleaning after all the stuff was packed away and Hubby was putting all the bins back, I glanced out the window and caught a hint of this stunning display. Of course, I had to try and capture it. It was so bold and vivid, it was almost unreal. The entire sky was doing some interesting things, no matter which direction you looked, but this was one of the best views.
Today, I get to go outside and play a little more because it got really foggy last night and froze on everything. We are a gorgeous white coated wonderland. I guess 2021 was willing to gift me with a beautiful winter that 2020 was being stingy with. Either that or there are some unnamed weather fairies up in the northern end of the continent that was willing to send me some of theirs, for which I’m extremely grateful.
BG and I wanted to try and get a glimpse of this event, so we set alarms and set up camp at a front window that was perfectly positioned for viewing.
I’m going to admit to some extreme ignorance on this. I really had thought that when there was talk of Saturn being in line with Jupiter, I expected it to fall behind Jupiter. So when I decided to just see what I could get with my camera, my mind was in that mode and expected certain things because of it, though I really didn’t expect to get anything at all exciting as I simply do not have the right equipment for anything amazingly detailed. I really just expected to get a bright dot.
Imagine my surprise when I see not just one dot with the naked eye, but a couple. BG and I were trying to decide what the second dot was, even using our Google Sky ap to try and identify it. Just a side note about that ap… it confirmed my thoughts on Saturn being behind Jupiter because that is what it showed on the screen instead of it being next to it. Other than giving us a place to look, it really didn’t help one bit in figuring out what we were seeing.
After I’d taken a few shots and BG had run off to take one of her finals, I decided to see what all that looked like if I zoomed in on one of the photos. My mind was absolutely blown. It looked like you could see Saturn’s rings peaking out from behind Jupiter. I was so stunned that I could see that and jumped back in to take a bunch more to see if I could get it to clear up. Some looked more like a solid ring and others dropped down to more single light points on either side of Jupiter.
I got all crazy exited, cropped out the best one I could find and got it posted on my FB page, bragging about getting the rings. Then I went looking at photos other people had gotten. And got really confused. Turns out Saturn is that mysterious dot to the side and what I thought were the rings really weren’t. I was so disappointed and felt like such an idiot.
I finally found a diagram of what was where and realized, okay, so I didn’t get Saturns rings, but I DID get 3 of Juipter’s moons and, quite possibly, Pluto as well. Yes, they are still really just dots, but the placement is clear.
I reposted the photos with a correction and the diagram I’d found, disappointed by the fact that I didn’t actually get those amazing rings. One of my friends jumped in and corrected me saying that because Saturn’s dot is more oblong than Jupiter, that technically I DID get the rings, they just aren’t clearly defined.
Considering I didn’t expect to get ANYTHING, I’m really stoked that I got what I did. Below is the full size photo. Even without blowing it up in size, you can still see some of those elements.
This is the diagram I found on Earth Sky to give you and idea of which dot is which. This is why I said I THINK I also got Pluto because it isn’t pictured here.
The closer look at what I managed to capture. You can clearly see the big dot of Jupiter with a moon close on either side and a third just up and to the left. Saturn is the slightly smaller, egg shaped dot up and to the right of Jupiter. Then, if you look close, almost straight down from Saturn is the faintest dot. That is the one I think may be Pluto (feel free to correct me if you know what it is).
While yesterday was THE day to see the two planets this close, you can still see them together for the next several days, with more distance between the planets each day.
Being up early enough to get a sunrise shot is the pits, but it looks like I’ll get to see quite a few as long as I have contractors working. I’m going to be a zombie by the time this project is finished.
Mornings are made even more difficult when I have to herd the cats into rooms they can’t get out of so they stay out from under the feet of the guys working. Our older kitty, Cleo, is fine. She is the lovable one and has no problem getting picked up and loved on, which makes it easy to get her corralled. Our younger black cat, Midnight? She is a little bit evil and SO doesn’t like being messed with.
We had them in the same room yesterday but all I heard all day long was yowling. We are trying them in separate rooms today to see if that makes things better.
It took us nearly half an hour and all 4 of us to get Midnight into her room this morning, ending when MC picked her up after donning a nice thick sweatshirt to protect his arms. I’m going to have to seriously think about keeping her confined in that room completely until this project is done. Yesterday, we let the cats run free as soon as the guys were done for the day, but I don’t think we can do that and get her back in again tomorrow.
It might make things extremely complicated if we have to keep her confined completely for the duration.
It is difficult not to be exceptionally angry today. I’m angry at the ignorance and the unwillingness of those that are supposed to be in charge to actually DO something productive.
Yes, I could be talking on the larger scale as that absolutely applies as well, but I’m talking a little lower down the power rung. Our idiotic governor, who just got reelected, much to my horror, just put out a decision stating that as long as masks are worn properly at the time of exposure, schools no longer need to issue quarantines for those that might have been exposed.
What the ever loving fuck?!
The same day, one major university announced they were going full virtual after Thanksgiving and a local high school was also having to go all virtual because of the number of cases. But the brain trust in charge of our entire state decided, against ALL CDC and health department recommendations, that quarantines are no longer needed.
This was immediately followed by our mayor stating that our city would not be following those guidelines. Sadly, BG’s school district isn’t inside the city limits and aren’t bound by city rules. They did put out a statement that they will be considering what this means for them and give more information later.
It is hard enough to send her to the school to take her proctored exams as it is. Knowing she will be going if the school follows our governor’s guidelines pisses me off. I have her doing online for a reason.
This also makes it significantly more concerning to send her to dance because there are SO many school districts represented at the studio and I have no way of knowing which schools will be following those guidelines and which ones won’t.
I am sick to death of people that don’t know squat thinking they know more than the experts and putting so many people at risk. I simply do not understand whatever twisted rationale they used to make such a stupid, risky decision. Schools are already having a hard enough time with outbreaks, but this dipshit thinks this is a good idea and that things will be better?
Oh, and this is the same dipshit that cut funding for schools in the spring.
The only mitigating factor in this at all is that, so far, our district has followed city guidelines for the most part. It is still going to impact so many other areas of my state, though. So many people are going to die because there is an idiot at the helm who refuses to listen to the real doctors with real experience and the CDC and the health departments. You know, the ones who’s jobs it is to know this stuff.
I finally got my test results back yesterday afternoon. It took longer than the 24 hours I was originally told, but I got the expected negative so I’m good to go to take the meds I need to kick this bronchitis in the butt.
Even better, I noticed that the amazing, saintly doctor I spoke to not only gave me a generous size bottle of the desperately needed cough medicine, but he gave me 2 refills on it as well! Every past doctor I’ve seen with the exception of the one while I was pregnant with BG that took pity on me and gave me enough to last about 2 years has treated that stuff like it was liquid gold.
I do get why, but it just makes it that much harder to get enough to get this under control normally, which means I have to go in multiple times every year. I really wasn’t looking forward to that this year so I did a little happy dance when I saw the number marked in the refills box on the label.
Fingers and toes crossed that all of this is enough to knock this out early this year.
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.
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.
Twilight Lighthouse Coasters
Twilight Lighthouse Framed Print
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.