Category Archives: Photography

Junco Jubilee

I had mentioned a month ago that the Juncos had returned, a flock of a dozen at least, maybe 16 to 18. It’s hard to tell, when seed gets thrown out they’re flitting and jumping and fluttering all over the place. And they’re tough to get a photo of, since at first sight of me, even from inside the dining room, they’re bugging out.

But today I saw a bunch of them out there, maybe 10 or 12, and I got up to the sliding glass door very slowly and quietly so as not to spook them.

They’re well camoflouged in the dead grass but I can spot at least seven of them here.

Welcome to December. May the cute, hoppy, jumping, flitting, fluttering birds be a source of happiness and joy to you today!

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Filed under Birds, Photography

Christmas Lights 2022 – Stupid Smart iPhone

The iPhone giveth and the iPhone taketh away!

With an older smart phone there wasn’t as much logic in the phone, not as much computational wizardry on call with every photo, so if, for example, you took a picture of Christmas lights at night and moved the phone during a longer exposure of several seconds, you could get some interesting light trails. If you wanted nice, pinpoint lights with perfect Normal Rockwell focus, you needed a tripod or a miracle.

Now, with the camera smarter than you are, if you wiggle during that five or ten second low light photograph, the camera will turn it into dozens of much shorter, sharper, in-focus pictures and then align the bits and integrate and stack it all, giving you pinpoint lights.

But if you should WANT to get blurs and trails and foggy focus and something that might be more fun, more different, more froo froo, more artsy fartsy? That’s a problem, since you’re not in control any more and you can’t override most of those settings. So it might take a dozen or two photos before you get anything like the effect you want.

It occurs to me that, while I love and use the crap out of my iPhone 13 Pro Max and am yet disappointed with this facet of its design, I do still have my iPhone 8 and my iPhone 6 which may not have SIM cards to turn them back into phones, but they’re still perfectly functional as cameras. Most importantly, stupider cameras. It might be necessary to pull them out and charge them up for some ‘sperimentin!

In addition, while the world may be moving toward little bots and devices with “FULL AUTO MODE!” everything, the DSLR world, while containing modes in which the smart camera does most of the work, still has “off” switches for almost every one of those modes. More ‘sperimentin!

For tonight, enjoy a couple of quick shots of the lights on the rose bushes next to the driveway.

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Filed under Christmas Lights, Photography

No Context For You – November 29th

A few small triumphs, some gains, a few deadlines met – it all helps.

Step by step. It’s all progress.

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Filed under Paul, Photography

A Wall Of Green

While putting up Christmas lights on Saturday I had the most odd visual experience. In order to run an extension cord from the garage roof across a sidewalk and over to the tall, thin, Italian cypress trees that line the yard, I was right up against the trees, reaching in for the extension cord that I was threading down through the branches.

I looked up…

…and my perspective switched 90º, gravity be damned. I would have sworn that I was floating or hovering two inches above a horizontal bed of kelp or some sort of sea grass, looking off above it into the ocean – not looking straight up, vertically, at the sky above the wall of tree branches.

Even just looking at this picture my brain snaps back to that other viewpoint, like one of those optical illusions where you can either see an old woman with a huge nose or a young girl with a scarf.

Maybe I’m just having a nervous breakdown. It would explain so much…


Filed under Christmas Lights, Paul, Photography

Fine Feathered Friends – November 27th

If you’ve hung out here any length of time you’ve seen the house finches and black-eyed juncos and mockingbirds and mourning doves and all of the other birds that get fed in the back yard on a regular basis.

Friday morning when I went out into the front yard to start working on the Christmas light installation, I saw a whole flock of mourning doves waiting for breakfast to be served. It had a bit of an Alfred Hitchcock vibe to it.

Am I anthropomorphizing? No. As soon as the door to the back yard slid open, they all took off over the house to land and start eating, confirming my theory.

We’re just the local avian version of Waffle House!

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Filed under Birds, Photography

Christmas Lights 2022 – Second Light

Another busy day with the lights – probably at about 80% to 90% of what I would like to do at this point.

I’ve got three places where I would like to get a set of lights up, and another two or three spots where I can add another set to fill in, if I can find working sets of lights.

We’ll see. At this point part of the problem is that a lot of the light sets I have are years and years old and they’re starting to fail, with 1/3 or 2/3 or 1/4 of the sets being out. I won’t put those up, but I can’t quite figure out how to repair them, either.

There are little gizmos out there that are supposed to help you identify where in a light set it’s broken so that you can repair that part – I’ve never been able to get them to work. For now, if I can get a couple of sets, great. If not, well, at a certain point, good enough is good enough. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. It’s already better than I did last year, so a couple more quick sets and I’ll be fine if that’s all we get done this year.


Then we have the inside decorations and the tree.

And the cards.

I do love the holiday traditions!

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Christmas Lights 2022 – First Light

The Younger Daughter was nice enough to come over today, as she is wont to do on the Friday after Thanksgiving, to help with the first round of Christmas lights and we got a lot done.

We got probably half of them up – still need the lights over the garage, the icicle lights along the gutters, the lights along the driveway and in the rose bushes, the lights at the end of the house in the hibiscus bushes.

But, as always, a lot of the first day is also spent running extension cords and setting up timers, so all in all it was an excellent day.

And, as always, it was way too much lifting, twisting, carrying, climbing of ladders, and so on, so my stumpy, slightly chubby, desk-ridden, sendentary body is twitching and cramping tonight. Ah, the things we do for our art!

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Thanksgiving 2022

It’s Thanksgiving Day 2022. We had the pleasure of celebrating the day with family where a wonderful day with, as is the tradition, way too much food. Tomorrow the Christmas lights and decorations start going up and there will be leftovers a go-go!

I hope your Thanksgiving (if you’re in the US) was just as wonderful. If you’re not in the US, I hope you had a great Thursday and your upcoming weekend is filled with fun.

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Filed under Family, Photography

Across The Sky

Cooler temps, a cold front, icy clouds up high, and ideal conditions for contrails.

Someone was headed almost due west, past the sun and off over the Pacific. Dallas to Honolulu? Who knows. Something like that.

Upon closer examination, there’s a bit of iridescence in the high clouds of ice, a bit of rainbow coloring just above the center of the photo.

And just to the right of the tree, no doubt headed into BUR Rwy 8, is a Southwest 737.

That’s a really sweet shade of blue, isn’t it?

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Filed under Flying, Photography, Weather

Random Old Photos – November 21st

This would be fun! Why am I not doing this instead of all of the other things I’m doing which are less fun? Why am I not maximizing my fun to the maximum amount?

According to the N-number this is a Fleet 7B, built in 1936. (If you blow the picture up and squint, that seems to be what the logo on the tail and the lettering under it confirm as well.)

I’ve flown in open air cockpit aircraft, but I’ve never flowin in a biplane, and I’ve never piloted a tail-dragger or an open cockpit aircraft. But those shortfalls in my experience and licensing could be rectified with a few lessons.

This would be fun!


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