karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-19 03:58 pm
Entry tags:

Practicing for the Eclipse

About a week ago, I decided I wanted to try my hand at photographing the eclipse in a couple days. I went online to see what materials I would need.

Of course, you need solar glasses to look directly at the sun. And I also needed a way to protect the camera. I did not want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a solar filter that would fit my lens, so I bought a sheet of solar film and constructed my own filter.

Solar Glasses

Here are a couple pair of solar glasses --


They work well -- the sun turns into a dull yellow ball. You cannot see ANYTHING ELSE -- everything is all black (except for the sun) because the glasses block so much light.

Home-made Solar Filter for the Camera

The sheet of solar film arrived sandwiched between 2 pieces of cardboard.


I could have just used the sheet by attaching it to the end of the lens with a rubber band. But there was only 1 sheet, and I needed to do a practice run. So, I decided to cut it and some cardboard and make my own filter.

My first thought was to cut a piece of cardboard to the right size, then tape the film onto it. Here's the cardboard with the hole in it.


It didn't really work well -- it was too flimsy, and could fall off easily.


So I got a piece of paper -- one that was less stiff than cardboard, but still a bit stiff. And I cut a strip, which I wrapped around and taped 1 end of the strip to the other to make a kind of tube.

Then I taped the solar film over the end of the tube. I used a rubber-band to hold the tube to the lens.


That seemed to work well enough. It felt stable on the lens, and it made it through my practice session.

Camera Settings

First off, I decided on my camera settings:
 ISO:  100
 f/stop:  f/8.0
 Shutter:  1/500
 Focus:  Manual and set to infinity
 Bracketing: I bracketed up and down 2 stops, but having looked at the results, I think I will only go 1.5 stops during the eclipse.
White Balance:  I set this to what the camera calls "Sunlight", which is 5200K I believe.
 Intervals: I used the intervalometer to open the shutter every 10 seconds.  Because I was bracketing and using continuous mode, the camera took 3 shots every 10 seconds (1 normal, 1 under-exposed and 1 over-exposed).

To get that to happen, I set the LONG to 1, the INTVL to 10, and the N to 0.

Lens and Zoom 200mm lens with a 1.4 extender on a crop sensor camera...so what does that give me....200mm * 1.4 (extender) * 1.6 (crop factor), or about 448 effectively?

I'm not sure if that is correct...it's my guess at how it works.
Other Settings: I turned image stabilization off on the lens -- why have it on and lose f/stops when the camera is going to sit on the tripod?

I may have to change my settings on Monday as the eclipse gets near the 86% mark (which will be our max eclipse here).

Practice Session

One of the goals of the session was to determine how much time the sun would be in view of my lens -- with the lens zoomed in, how long would the sun stay in front of the camera?

Turns out..not long! These 2 images were about 5 minutes apart, which looks like the sun has moved about a 1/4 way across the screen (and down)...meaning, I'll only get 20 minutes of shots before I have to move the lens.


Which begs the question -- what exactly do I want to photograph? I really don't want to spend all my time fooling around with the camera during the eclipse -- I would prefer to watch it with my eyes through my glasses.

But I do want some photos, so I suspect I will aim the camera near the beginning of the eclipse...then move it to take some photos in the middle...and that may be all I take.

Here's the camera set up outside. Note how sharply angled it is! This was a time when I SORELY missed the articulating screen that my Rebel has! With this camera, I had to kneel and look upwards to see the screen!


After the Practice Thoughts

One of the nice things for me about photography is that there is always something else to learn to do.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast looks like we may have clouds on Monday so I may or may not get any eclipse photos. But just doing this practice session, and learning about solar film and camera settings for an eclipse has been fun!

Practicing for the eclipse on Monday....

karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-17 07:51 am
Entry tags:

Hummer is back

I liked this silhouette of a hummingbird sitting in the Crepe Myrtle out front.
Hummingbird Silhouette


The hummingbird is still a bit shy of me, so I can't get too close. The pic below is heavily cropped. It surprises me because in most situations, I have found that hummingbirds don't mind humans. Maybe this bird has just not had very much human exposure.
Hummingbird Sittin' in a Tree...
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-14 08:36 pm
Entry tags:

Tear Them Down

I originally thought we should put the Confederate monuments into a museum setting of some sort -- as teaching lessons about history.

After Charlottesville, I say tear them down.

Most of them were raised in the early 1900s as part of Jim Crow. They have no place in America now.
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-14 07:41 pm
Entry tags:

First Hummingbirds...

It was a cloudy evening, under the porch, so my photos were very noisy! But I got some pics of hummingbirds visiting the feeder I just hung!

Ruby-throated hummingbird
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-13 09:37 pm
Entry tags:

Social Behavior

Wow...such a social week...dinner with friends (Ethiopian!) and great dessert afterwards! Coffee...wine...Watermelon Festival...Korean 'Chipotle'....

Really, I'd like to spread my social life out more -- I had stuff to do every night this past week!

Took some quick shots of a friend one night -- this one was interesting to me. I think it is the 'proud' pose he took for the pic. It was on the grounds of the museum here --
Hanging out with a friend tonight.
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-13 10:23 am
Entry tags:

Don't be a Sucker!

1947 Anti-Fascism Video -- starts mostly around 2:16 -- "I thought Nazis were crazy people -- fanatics" --

karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-11 04:39 pm
Entry tags:

Tomatoes!

The cherry tomatoes are finally coming in. I'm going to dinner with friends tonight, but I got hungry, so this (with some Caesar dressing) is a snack.

Cherry tomatoes, with some Ground Cherries and Basil before I put on the dressing...
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-09 07:27 am
Entry tags:

So...this is where we are now?

So, we are now reading articles about how a 'war' might look?

It only took 7 months with Jabba in office! Granted, the North Korean situation has ben very flammable for a long time...it's just that Jabba has no skill -- is over his head -- is antagonistic and stupid.

I don't have enough expletives to describe what I think of him.

karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-08 09:06 pm

Ice cream with a friend and a Goldfinch

Had sorvete / ice cream with my Brazilian friend tonight -- it was fun...it has been several weeks since we had seen each other!

Got fairly close to a Goldfinch in the garden tonight...I think I could've gotten even closer if someone hadn't walked by on the sidewalk and scared him away!

Goldfinch eating Coneflower seeds in front yard
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-05 09:20 pm
Entry tags:

Hummingbird Moth, Monarch Caterpillar

Between yardwork and errands today and yesterday, I took some pictures in the garden. I was pleased to see a Hummingbird Moth -- Hemaris diffinis -- a Snowberry Clearwing Moth.

They are difficult to photograph partly because they look like, and are the size of, bumblebees, so unless you are paying attention, you don't even know they are around. They are also fairly shy, and if you get within 6 or 7 feet of them, they tend to fly away. Also, they are moving a lot, so they are hard to shoot.

I used my longest lens here (and cropped the result), so that I didn't have to get too close.

Hummingbird moth (Hemaris diffinis - Snowberry Clearwing Moth)

Hummingbird moth (Hemaris diffinis - Snowberry Clearwing Moth)


And I was also pleased to see a Monarch Caterpillar -- Danaus plexippus -- feeding on the Swamp Milkweed out front. It means I did the right thing planting the Swamp Milkweed -- which I did to give Monarchs a food source.
Monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) feeding on Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-08-03 09:07 pm
Entry tags:

Sorvete

I hung out again with the 21 year old guy tonight -- he paid for my gelato. It was fun -- he really is a sweetheart!

Sometimes, when you re-start your social life, more and more social life happens. I have plans tomorrow night, next Friday, and suddenly 2 people texted me tonight to try to schedule something with me. One of them is my Brazilian friend, whom I haven't seen in several weeks. And the other is a guy from my English as a Second Language class, whom I haven't seen in a few months!

So, I wondered if Portuguese had a different word for ice cream, and gelato...and maybe not -- Google Translate gives the same word -- sorvete -- which already looked like 'sorbet' to me anyway!

Some Vanessa da Mata tonight -- "Don't Leave Me Alone" --
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-07-30 09:07 pm

Weekend

It was a really nice dinner with friends the other night this past week...the restaurant had a great vegetarian option -- that's unusual for burger place -- and just really nice conversation.

***

Wine with a friend tonight, who has bought a full frame sensor camera -- and wow, it worked really nicely with my fisheye lens! It really is tempting me to trade up from my crop sensor to a full frame!

***

I met a guy for coffee today...I knew he was young...but OMG -- so young, lol! I immediately went into 'uncle mode' because he is so young -- he's 21...There's more difference in our ages than he is old! I can totally hang out with him -- and give him some support as he 'grows up' as a gay man. He was pretty painfully shy -- which brought out my Uncle mode even more!

***

I was taking pictures of a Goldfinch munching on my Coneflowers today...I never realized that birds would 'squat' before they took a dump, lol! But this finch totally did a wing and leg thing and took 2 dumps -- I didn't catch the actual dumping in my photo, but you can see the pose he took, lol!
Goldfinch, ahem, having a private moment after a large breakfast

***

Speaking of Uncle mode...one of my great nephews sent me a text today...he's 8. So I texted a few things...and sent him some pictures. He seemed to like the picture of Milkweed Bugs on my Swamp Milkweed plant --
Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus)
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-07-25 03:10 pm

Summer

Had a very nice time with a friend at a wine bar last night. I was tipsier than I expected -- one of the wines was (do I remember the server correctly...) 14% alcohol?

Dinner with some other friends later this week. Should be fun!

I'm trying to re-start my social life a bit. A dear friend has been more and more unavailable to me for the last few months. He and I have always been sort of an 'odd couple'...but somehow we (maybe it was just me that..?) made it work for several years. But it has made me sad...And now I have to decide what the f**k to do with the small birthday present I bought him, which is sitting on a chair in my house!


Even when I don't get the words...I still listen to Brazilian music -- I figure if nothing else, it 'trains' my ear to the sound. And in this song, I looked up the lyrics..and there are a lot of words about Carnival that I don't really get...nor do I get the storyline. But it's pleasant music.



Headed over to the the fine art museum here to snap a few pics of Chloe -- the gigantic head outside of the museum. She's pretty eye catching! And flat from head on!
Chloe @ VMFA

Chloe @ VMFA
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-07-22 08:02 pm
Entry tags:

Butterflies and Wasps

My house has a new resident -- it appears to be a leafcutter wasp.

As I was walking around the house this morning, I saw this bug fly into a hole in the mortar. I watched it come and go a couple of times, but it was too fast -- I couldn't see it well enough to identify it! So I brought the camera out. Again, it was so fast that I couldn't point the camera (and have the camera focus) fast enough. So then I brought out the tripod and shutter switch. Still not a great pic, but enough for me to ID the bugger!

The green you see is a piece of leaf it has cut to bring back to line the nest --


The good news is that they seem to be excellent pollinators. And it doesn't seem that they will do great harm to the house. The bad news is that once one finds a 'good spot', they mark the spot, so others know about it. Although solitary nesters, they tend to have nests near each other. So, I suppose this could become a problem in the future. But for now, the nest is safe with me!

***

The heat has been fierce lately, so I haven't wanted to work in the yard. And by the time I was up and about today, I didn't want to go to the river and be in the sun. So, I decided to visit the butterfly exhibit at the local botanical garden again.

If I thought it was humid outside....wait until I got inside the butterfly exhibit, whew!
It wasn't humid in there....not not at all  😜


I wanted to "pan" the camera, in the way I do for bicyclists....but butterflies don't go in a straight, predictable line! I still think this photo is interesting, although not what I was aiming for --
It's hard to photograph a moving butterfly!


I had seen the 'eyes' on the wings of these butterflies before, but the angle of this this photo really made them stand out! I was surprised at how much my eye was drawn to the fake 'eye' instead of the actually head of the butterfly!
The Eye!


Another butterfly in the exhibit --
Butterfly


I have not seen many butterflies in my garden at home this year -- small ones -- Sulfas and Skippers, but not many large ones. I'm hoping when the Asters start to bloom that I'll see a few more.
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-07-21 05:02 pm
Entry tags:

Asimov

Growing up, I read a lot of Isaac Asimov...his Foundation series (along with Tolkien's Lord of the Rings) was definitely a big part of my growing up. His writing style is a bit terse and old fashioned, but since his stuff was published in the 40s and 50s, that's understandable.

And Asimov was prolific - there are a lot of short stories and novels that he wrote. Today, I read a less than 15 page 'novel-ette' called "Nightfall".

I realized when I was reading it, that a lot of Asimov's stories are 'thought experiments'. What if there was a world with 6 suns, where there was never any light? How would the people react if there was a time of total darkness?

Published in 1941:
41 ' "It came to pass that the Darkness
42 of the Cave fell upon Lagash, and there
43 was no light on all the surface of Lagash.
44 Men were even as blinded, nor could one
45 man see his neighbor, though he felt his
46 breath upon his face.
47 ' "And in this blackness there
48 appeared the Stars, in countless numbers,
49 and to the strains of music of such beauty
50 that the very leaves of the trees cried out
51 in wonder.
karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-07-19 09:11 pm
Entry tags:

As Partes do Corpo

In addition to the Flash cards, I decided to learn more parts of the body. So I printed out some skinless medicinal images of a body and began labeling them.

My friend laughed at me -- I was using Google Translate, which sometimes is NOT my friend, lol. I typed 'calf'. And Google gave me the word for a child of a cow....a calf...but not the 'leg' kind, lol!

The same thing happened with chest! Google gave me "o baú, but my friend says "o peito"!

So I had to correct several of the words I got from Google!







Então, tem cuidado! Be careful what you get from online translation services!



karmicdragonfly: (Default)
2017-07-18 08:17 pm
Entry tags:

Oh...the tenses you'll learn!

Until I get a handle on the verb tenses, I'm afraid my Portuguese is always gonna be very mediocre.

They are just hard for me! In French, I had many classes over many years, all drilling le plus-que-parfait or le passė simple and many more into my thick head...But I don't have that in Portuguese, so I am now reduced to flash cards, lol! I printed them myself, and I intend to keep adding to them.

This morning, I chose 10, and I got 6 right....but the 4 I got wrong -- I really got wrong! So today I've been specifically practicing the 3rd person plural of present, past and imperfect of the verb fazer (to do/make): nós fazemos / nós fizemos / nós fazíamos.