Category Archives: Photography

Critter Tracks

While working on the Christmas lights this holiday weekend, it was immediately obvious Friday morning that some critter had been using my car as a perch of some sort. It’s been really, really dry and dusty and there were muddy tracks all over it.

Onto the hood…

…up onto the windshield…

…and then meandering all across the roof.

The critter had obviously just crossed through some mud, probably from the dirt around the roses next to the driveway. Given the tracks I’m guessing it was a raccoon, which are known to be around, although I guess it could also be a cat or an opossum. But my money’s on raccoon. I’ve seen one in the yard that was probably in the 30-40 pound range. I’m not sure what this dude was doing on the car, but no harm, no foul. Maybe he got spooked by the sprinklers turning on and was just trying to find a dry spot.

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Slightly More First Light 2021

As predicted, I feel a lot like I’ve been beaten by folks with baseball bats after spending yesterday schlepping, lifting, carrying, hauling, climbing ladders, balancing precariously on ladders, and generally doing things for one day that use extreme physical exertion and agility and which I haven’t done in a year. (Funny coincidence, that.) Let’s see, I can either get in shape and stay in shape so that next year this isn’t a sudden and painful event or I can just do nothing and then bitch and whine about it next year on the weekend after Thanksgiving…

Oh, who are we kidding. Plan B!!

Today I did get out and get up another six or seven sets of lights.

These along the driveway, threaded among the rose bushes (currently sans roses), are very nice.

Above the garage door the “spider’s nest” of colored lights got hung. It is so tempting to take that big Halloween spider ornament and hang it in the middle of this!

Speaking of critters, remember a couple weeks ago I mentioned seeing a large (18″ to 24″) alligator lizard out on the porch? No pictures, but I did see it again and get a very good look at it yesterday. It’s moved into the garage and was not happy with me sweeping up and cleaning at the end of the day. It scurried out, flipped me off, then scurried off to shelter under the piles of boxes and crap stored in the garage. It’s every bit of eighteen inches long, a lovely critter, and definitely an alligator lizard and not just a bigger fence lizard.

The (photographic) hunt goes on!

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Filed under Castle Willett, Christmas Lights, Critters, Photography

First Light – 2021

I’m going to be sooooooooo sore tomorrow. A lot of time on ladders today.

So worth it! The Younger Daughter came over and helped a ton, so we got a lot of lights up on the first day of Christmas lights season.

More to come, of course! Never enough until I’m blowing the fuse with any additional lights, and even then I’m looking for another circuit that might have some capacity. But for today, that’s a DAMN FINE start!

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Thanksgiving 2021

The feast. It was wonderful.

Last year we didn’t have a Thanksgiving dinner other than for those in the household. This year there were family over. Smaller than previous years, much smaller than back in the day when the whole clan and spouses and kids and grandkids met up at my parents’ house. But still – little steps to recover from a brush with Armageddon.

I hope your dinner was everything you hoped for and you got to spend time with those you love.

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Moments Of Zen

It was windy. A pretty steady 20+ knots with gusts to 30+. The wind chimes were working overtime.

And dry. The hummingbird feeders were empty and Little Bastard was pissed. Every time I went out into the back yard he was buzzing me, reminding me that the feeders were empty. I finally took them down, cleaned them, and put more nectar in them.

After dark the clouds and fog of the past several evenings were gone (of course!) and our three current planetary visitors were still lined up nicely.

For those of you needing an assist to ID them:

Keep breathing, folks.

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Filed under Astronomy, Birds, Critters, Photography, Space, Video, Weather

Thirteen Minutes Of Flaming Sunset

From 16:46 to 16:59, we went from an orangish glow with potential to a pink and orange extravaganza to a fade to gray with orange hints.

Not bad for a Monday!

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Filed under Photography, Sunsets

No Context For You – November 20th

RED!

Love.

Lust.

Anger.

Passion.

Hatred.

Excitement.

Desire.

Frustration. (Maybe. Actually frustration might be more like a faded orange. “Red adjacent,” but missing the urgency, the life, the adrenaline, just keeping the bittersweet memories.)

So many strong emotions, so much energy spent keeping them in check, hidden, safe, not allowing the danger out of control.

A red day…

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Photography

Last Night’s 97% Lunar Eclipse

Did you see it?

Here in LA I thought that I might not see it at all, given the clouds that were moving in earlier in the evening, but they were scattered around 23:00 when the umbral eclipse started

But, you deal with what you have been dealt, right? So here’s the first 30 minutes or so of the eclipse from the good camera, shooting thorough the cloud layer about every 6-7 minutes, focusing as best I could (which, frankly, is marginal):

Focus getting worse? Well, yes, because in addition to the high clouds, the fog was starting to roll in off of the coast and out of Ventura County to the west. So it was getting really damp, dew was forming on the lens, and no matter how much I tried to keep it dry and clear, I was getting to this:

Now, I was also running two other cameras including a good video camera, and that stayed clear of dew and condensation another hour or so until the fog completely wiped out the view right around maximum totality at 01:02. I may be able to pull some decent still images off of that. Later. Maybe.

As for the other camera, it was just an old iPhone that I put into time-lapse mode, and that actually turned out sort of cool!

So I gave the photography and video my best shot, but it was what it was. Aside from that, it was (as always!) really neat and interesting to watch the Moon disappear and see a demonstration of celestial mechanics right there in my own front yard!

Did you get to see it?

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space, Video

ISS Rising Through Clouds

Tonight it’s clouds, unlike last night’s fog and haze and layers of ice crystals making things fuzzy. Plus, we’re back into some decent ISS evening passes. Time to fire up the light bucket!

(I’m giving you the full-sized file – click on it to blow it up BIG!)

While it is fall, the foliage hasn’t gotten that red – there were a couple of cars parked there with their brake lights on.

On the left side, just to the right of the telephone pole and just above the trees, Venus is setting. Very bright.

The ISS is rising from behind that tree toward the upper right, fading out as it goes into shadow just before it passes in front of Vega, the bright star there.

Moving horizontally way off in the distance is China Airlines Flight #008, coming in to LAX from Taipei. They’ve been in the air for almost eleven hours.

Partially hidden behind that big tree on the far right is Alaska Airlines Flight #520 from Seattle, going into Burbank. They’re four minutes out on a two hour flight.

Finally, there are our scattered to moderate clouds. We’ll see how they look tomorrow night when I’m going to want to be looking at the 98% lunar eclipse.

 

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography

22º Halo

I went out this evening to check out the clouds. They’re moving in, which is BAD for Thursday night. (More about that in a bit.) The eleven-day-old moon is bright, but between it and the clouds…

There’s that full 22º halo around the moon, the result of the moonlight being refracted through layers of ice crystals high in the atmosphere.

The long lines on the right are aircraft contrails. It’s very pretty and all, but those clouds are expected to stick around and get worse for a few days.

The problem with that is that there’s an almost total lunar eclipse on Thursday night/Friday morning. It’s over three hours long, with mid-eclipse at about 01:00 here in California. It’s a long one, well over three hours, and pretty much anywhere in North America you’ll have a good chance of seeing it.

But only if it’s not totally obscured by clouds. Obviously.

We’ll see what Thursday night brings for Los Angeles. Tonight all I can see is the moon and (just barely) Jupiter. If this was Thursday night I would be seeing a reddish ring and not much else. Let’s hope for better in 48 hours.

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space