Archive for the ‘Astronomy’ Category

Jul 10

In preparation for the upcoming Solar eclipse on the 21st of August, I wanted to learn how to shoot the Sun, both with regular camera lenses and with the telescope.

So I ordered some solar filters, one that displays the Sun in black and white, and another that shows a more natural orange (as I understand it).

The black and white filter is pre-mounted in a ring, the orange is not.  So I have to make a mount for the telescope for this filter.

The weather has not been totally cooperative the last few weeks for either Moon or Astronomical photography, but the morning was fairly clear on the 7th.

I took the filter and caught a couple quick shots in the morning before work.  Not bad, but certainly not professional level yet.

If you look closely at the expanded image (click on the picture and it should open) can see a sun spot in the lower left, this is sun spot #2665 according to NASA.  I think it is cool I was able to capture it any the level of detail on my very first shot of the Sun.

The morning Sun on the 7th

The morning Sun on the 7th


Jul 10

We had a good fourth weekend.  We had most of the family over and I smoked some pork and chicken.  Unfortunately, the photographer (Mama Bear) let us down, she was too busy conversing and eating to remember to take pictures…

But on the fourth I did take my new telescope out to play for a little bit.  Bear with me, I’m still learning and I think this is going to have a bit of a curve translating what you see to what you photograph.

Backlit Leaves

Backlit Leaves

I did capture a couple shots of the moon, but the focus is much different between using a normal camera lense and the telescope, so the result isn’t quite as sharp as I had hoped.  It will take some time to get things figured out, but I am happy so far.

The moon on the fourth of July

The moon on the fourth of July

But, I did make a bunch of sausage the next day, and I did remember to get some pictures of that.  Mama Bear walked by at one point and grabbed my camera and snapped a shot of me while I was grinding.

Working hard

Working hard

I tend to be a little bit of a purist (sometimes referred to as anal)…  I believe toasting my own spices and grinding whole spices gives you the best flavor.  Here is my Fennel and Anise seeds during the toasting process for the Italian sausage.

Toasting spice

Toasting spice

I was the mad scientist mixing my recipes…

The mad scientist at work

The mad scientist at work

Which resulted in over 30 pounds of Italian, Breakfast and Chorizo…

Sausage, Sausage, Sausage everywhere

Sausage, Sausage, Sausage everywhere

The rest of that weekend and this past weekend was spent moving my woodworking shop/tools to the front of the garage to make room to pull the engine block from my Dad’s truck.  We are making progress on it also, I have the engine block almost disconnected and the drums off the the front brakes, so still going.  You can see more about the truck and it’s progress here:
https://www.halfpap.us/butchs_truck/

 


Catching up again…

posted by mark
Jul 2

I have been busy, but it is time to catch up here.

One of the things I have been doing, in fact what has taken up the majority of my play time, has been the beginning of what I hope will be the restoration of my Dad’s truck.  You can catch up on it and see what I’ve been doing here:
https://www.halfpap.us/butchs_truck

But, among other news, with the help and advice from my brother, I bought a small telescope.  I wanted something to start out with that could see our solar system and for the upcoming eclipse.

I haven’t been able to photograph anything with it yet, but Mama Bear caught a kind of interesting shot of it and I the night I was learning and trying out the computerized tracking system on it.

A Man and his toys

A Man and his toys


A Passing Minimoon

posted by mark
Jun 14

On June 9th we had a special type of full moon that comes only once a year: the minimoon, or a full moon that appears slightly smaller than normal.

Mama Bear and I tried to capture it rising, unfortunately the view from our location wasn’t very good and none of the shots through the trees really came out.

Fortunately, I was able to capture a fairly nice picture of it a little bit later after it rose above the trees.

June Minimoon

June Minimoon

 



This was supposed to be posted on the 7th, which is now like two and a half weeks ago…

I had a couple images I wanted to post, but last night as Mama Bear and I were settling in to watch some TV after dinner, more on TV later, I noticed a pop of color out the window.

I grabbed my camera and headed out back to see what I could see.  Our house is surrounded by mature trees and so getting a clear shot of the horizon is always a problem, but as I wandered around the back yard I got pops of color between the trees and the power lines.

Sunset

Sunset

But when I turned to the East I saw a cool skyline with the moon towering above taking its place in the night sky.

Moon and Clouds

Moon and Clouds

The clouds were brightly lit, almost as if from inside.  I have not touched the color or light balance of this image, this is pretty much how they looked.

Eastern Clouds

Eastern Clouds

And of course, the moon was shining brightly as the sky turned slowly to darkness.

Moon

Moon

I had intended to get up around 4AM to try to grab some shots of the Eta Aquariids, a meteor shower from the debris of Haley’s comet, but sleep seemed a much better option at 4AM… LOL


Last week’s sky

posted by mark
Mar 13

A good friend of mine asked me for some shots from last week, so I sent him one of the sunset’s from earlier, but thought I would a few others I sent him here, leading up to and including the full moon.

Friday evening I was shooting the sunset and moon rise.

Moonrise

Moon rise

And getting creative with back light from the moon.

Branches at night

Branches at night with a full moon

Saturday evening was the as close to full moon as I was going to get.

Full Moon

Full Moon

One thing many people may not realize, shooting the moon is not quite as easy as it sounds.  The full moon is normally the brightest object in the evening sky, and can be reflective enough to be seen during daylight, which almost no other celestial body can claim.  Shooting the moon at its peak can be especially challenging.  Here is a shot giving you an idea of the amount of light the moon reflects.

Bright moon

Bright moon


Evening sights

posted by mark
Mar 9

Like so often the last few weeks and months, we have had a fair amount of cloud cover lately.  Enough so that it has been just a constant shade of grey, light grey when the sun was up, black/grey when the sun goes down.  A couple nights ago, I noticed the sun was setting and the tree tops across the way were highlighted by the sun as it set.

Illuminated tree tops

Illuminated tree tops

And we had a noticeable sunset happening with beautiful orange and reds  just visible through the trees.

Tuesday's Sunset

Tuesday’s Sunset

Then last night as I was out for my evening walk, I noticed the sunset and the evening star were making a pretty picture in the sky, so I decided to give it a shot at capturing it when I got home.  Unfortunately, by the time I found the vantage point I was happy with, the sunset was almost gone, but still a pretty picture I think.

Evening Star and sunset

Evening Star and sunset

I also noticed the moon was high in the evening sky, working its way towards the upcoming full moon on the 12th, so I grabbed a few quick shots of it also.

Waxing Gibbous Moon 03092017.1907

Waxing Gibbous Moon 03092017.1907



When we left Wyoming and returned to Ohio almost 17 years ago, I had a spate of sinus infections.  Every place seems to have a sinus valley somewhere near, the Miami valley appears to be one of those places.  Eventually I got through it, although I have had seasonal allergies since returning.

Last week that old feeling returned; pressure, pain, congestion…  I struggled with it for several days, but I cracked on Friday and called the doctor.

The weekend was spent juggling meds and waiting for things to kick in and start clearing up, which they did, albeit slowly.  But I went back to work and life returned to normal.

Yesterday afternoon my symptoms returned, not what I was hoping for.  I’m still on meds, so I decided I needed to just lay down and let my body work on healing.  So today is a rare “sick” day.  I don’t normally take time off work when I don’t feel well.  One of the benefits of working from home is that I can be miserable and still be functional… LOL  And most of the time working keeps my mind off being sick.

But being home “sick” doesn’t mean I want to just be bored, so I am slowly puttering around on things to keep my mind occupied while I let me body rest and heal.

A couple of nights ago, we had fast moving clouds letting the moon peak out every now and then, so I tried to capture some shots.  It was a learning experience.  So, I processed a few of the pictures, the biggest lesson was overexposing the moon is easy, capturing the night can be difficult…

Overblown moon 02072017.1925

Overblown moon 02072017.1925

But it is possible, I have a way to go, but I like learning.  Here is one that came out better…

The Moon and Clouds 02072017.1926

The Moon and Clouds 02072017.1926

And another one that I like even better…

Moon and Clouds .02072017.1921

Moon and Clouds .02072017.1921

Tonight is almost the full moon, tomorrow night it will be 100% full.  We will have to see if the weather cooperates, but I hope to get some nice shots.


Jan 9

Mama Bear informed me yesterday that I have been sizing my pictures too small.  I thought I was sizing them for viewing in the blog, but she pointed out to me, they should actually be the size I want them to be viewable at, then using the WordPress software to scale them down in the blog, that way people can click on them and view the full size images.

So, here’s a better sized shot of the moon, I hope…

The Moon 01072017.183006

The Moon 01072017.183006

And now for something totally different, we have a new family member.  I jokingly called them Molly and MegaMolly, his name is really Archer.  Molly is getting up there in years and she has missed having Tally and Mia around all the time (not to mention someone to follow down the stairs in the dark when she needed to go out), so when our paths crossed and Archer needed a new home, things just fell into place.  As Mama Bear is fond of saying, the Father looks out for all of his creatures.

I want to explain, he did not need a home because he wasn’t loved, it was because his owner loved him enough to know he wasn’t happy in the situation they were in.  We love him very much already, he has bonded with each of us in a way that is quite special.

Molly-n-Archer

Molly-n-Archer


When hobbies collide

posted by mark
Jan 5

Since my recently revitalized interest in photography has arisen, a collision with another of my other interests, model railroading is colliding with it, both in time and money.  Both are in their infancy, which of course is when some big costs can be incurred… LOL

Fortunately, I can “borrow” Mama Bear’s camera gear, and I have been buying parts to prep for building the railroad in small lots for a while, so the major expenses aren’t going to happen immediately.

Last night the sky cleared enough for me to get some shots of the moon, of course today it is snowing and I’m thinking there won’t be a visible moon tonight… but here is one I am fairly happy with from last night.

First quarter moon 1/04/2016.1832

First quarter moon 1/04/2016.1832

Now for something completely off topic… We as a family have been playing the computer game Diablo for many years.  I started with the original, then brought Diablo II home and the entire family wanted in on it.  So we played on our network in our home, 2, 3, sometimes 4 kids with Mama Bear and I, all screaming across the house and generally wreaking mayhem on the world that was Diablo II.  Then along came Diablo III, and we hesitated.

Before Diablo III was released, rumors were flying about whether it would be a MMOG like World of Warcraft, or a local game like Diablo II had been.  I refuse to buy into the model of paying every month for a subscription to play a game, we don’t spend enough time in it to make it worth the expense, and the prospect of spending that much time bothers me.  But when they announced it was a hybrid of the two models, you bought the game outright, but had to be online to play, I was OK with it, so we jumped in.

This week, Blizzard Entertainment, who created the whole game series, released a special update that allows gamers to play the original Diablo I maps in Diablo III.  So four of us jumped on and played for several hours last night.  It was fun, Mama Bear, Baby Bear and the Wild Child and I played the evening away.