Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Morning Rush

It was a little hard to find a piece of sky not consumed with the contrails of the morning rush hour.  A pretty sunrise nevertheless.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/13th

(BOB_6990)
©Don Brown 2019

 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Not Rudolph

A whitetail deer showed up on Christmas morning down by the lake.


Nikon D7200 -- Nikon 200-500mm 5.6E ED VR
200mm
F5.6@1/1,600th
ISO 400
Cropped

(ROD_9845 - 2)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The Storm Breaks (Christmas Eve 2019)

After two days of rain, the storm breaks about 30 minutes after sunrise on Christmas Eve.

Just to  make all my frozen friends jealous, it's supposed to get near 70ºF (21ºC) today.  (They all know I'd rather see some snow.)  Merry Christmas to all.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
30mm
F8@1/100th
Polarizer

(BOB_6882)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Monday, December 23, 2019

A Familiar Cloud

It was blowing mist out on the lake this morning.  I never have figured out what to photograph on a morning like that.  It only takes seconds for your lens to mist over and nothing will sit still for a few seconds anyway…

Here's the view from a better day, with a familiar cloud. 



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm 
F8@1/10th

(BOB_5729)
©Don Brown 2019 
 

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Kitchen-Window View

This isn't the view from my kitchen window…it's how I see the view from my kitchen window.  As a matter of fact, it's a window into how I see the world.  

I'm told that a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera became the de facto "normal" lens (think back kids) because that was how people see. Okay then.  I "see" with a lens at least twice that length.  I'll see the hawk on a limb 100 feet away long before I'll see the snake at my feet.  (I didn't say it was a good way to see.)  

Anyway, my house was built in a hardwood forest. It's somewhat unusual for this area — known for pine trees. In the summer, it's a wall of leaves.  In the winter, a wall of tree trunks.  Oddly, I like winter best.


Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
95mm
F8@1/160th

(BOB_6355)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Saturday, December 21, 2019

Where Otters Play

A pair of otters play in front of my standard composition of the "Three Trees".



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
155mm
F8@1/10th

(BOB_6440)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Be Still...





Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
©Don Brown 2019

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Killer Light

This too is from a couple of days ago.  After the sky lit up in all sorts of different colors, the Sun was able to shine a few beams of killer light on the shore before getting above the overcast.  This is the kind of light photographers live for.  You can only hope (and try your best) to be in a place for great pictures when it happens. Yes, that would be a lot easier if your town had a Photography Park.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
35mm
F8@1/60th

(BOB_6015)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Orange Side

Well, this morning was nothing but overcast and rain so here's another one from yesterday.  The orange side of the sunrise.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
40mm
F8@1/40th

(BOB_5737)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Just a Cloud Alone

I'm pretty sure God was showing off this morning.  A beautiful and varied sky this morning. And then the Sun came up and played around some more.  But me being me, I've decided to go with just a cloud alone.




Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
70mm
F8@1/13th

(BOB_5721)
©Don Brown 2019

 

Sunday, December 15, 2019

No Patience

Yeah. I don't have the patience to be a wildlife photographer.  It was a cold, dreary day so I set up the long lens down on the pipeline to see if the whitetail deer would make an appearance.  I came home with wet weed pictures.



Nikon D7200 -- Nikon 200-500mm 5.6E ED VR
500mm
F5.6@1/80th
ISO 400

(ROD_9647)
©Don Brown 2019

 

Friday, December 13, 2019

A Beautifully Ugly Morning

Yes, I even go out on the "ugly" days.  39 degrees (3ºC), pouring rain and wind gusting up to 15 mph.  I told myself I'd convert it to black & white because the color temp (mine is always on "daylight") was so blue…but that was before I could see the raindrops on the lens showed up.  It never was going  to be pretty so it might as well tell a story.


Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/3rd

(BOB_5402)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Sunrise Moonset

It was absolutely clear this morning.  I knew there wouldn't be anything to photograph for the sunrise so I walked to the other side of the lake for the moonset.


Nikon D7200 -- Nikon 200-500mm 5.6E ED VR
500mm
F16@1/100th
ISO 400
Cropped

I don't have a lot of experience with this lens in a landscape environment so I wasn't sure of it's depth-of-field characteristics.  I gave F16 a whirl, trying to get the tree and the moon in focus.  It doesn't work.  Pick one — tree or moon — you can't have both in focus at the same time (without some post-processing tricks).  It turns out the moon isn't really sharp even in the pictures I took of it by itself.  Lots of atmosphere  for it to shine through is my best guess. And don't forget, the moon moves — faster than most non-photographers would guess. 

(ROD_9468 - 2)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Sunrise South

A right-nice sunrise this morning.  Most of the really-good color was south of the lake but that's not unusual for this time or year.


Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
28mm
F8@1/13th

(BOB_5190)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Sunday, December 08, 2019

Chasing Rainbows (and a How To)



I was putting up Christmas lights on the house and it kept sprinkling on me. Then, the next thing I knew, the Sun broke through even though the sky was almost black. So I raced down to the lake hoping to catch a rainbow. It never showed up but I thought you’d like to see my what my normal sunrise spot looks like at sunset.

(If you want to know how to chase rainbows, keep scrolling down.)



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/160th

(BOB_4404)
©Don Brown 2019

How to Chase Rainbows


Whenever I go off chasing rainbows (literally) I am reminded of Galen Rowell. Except for the guy that taught me photography (Hi Bill), no one else comes close as an influence on how I think about photography. If you haven't heard of Galen Rowell, I'd encourage you to read this article in Outdoor Photographer. And as far as I'm concerned, his books were masterpieces on the art of photography and how we see. As you read the article, you will most likely recognize his iconic image of a rainbow over Potala Palace.

I believe his instructions for chasing rainbows were in one of his books. Wherever I learned them, I never forgot them. (The only photography seminar I ever paid for was one of his in the Great Smoky Mountains.) So let's get down to it.

As any kid with a garden hose and sprayer knows, it only takes sunlight and water drops to make a rainbow. It doesn't have to be rain, but there has to be some kind of water droplets. (For instance, at many large waterfalls, you can find a rainbow in the spray.) So where do you look to find a rainbow? Your shadow points the way.

Lemons to Rainbows

You must first find the anti-solar point. In other words, locate the Sun (notice I didn't say "look at the Sun"), and then find the point directly opposite of the Sun -- the anti-solar point. A rainbow forms in an arc around that point. (I *think* it's a 42º arc around the anti-solar point but I promised myself I wouldn't get bogged down in the minutiae.)

Put your thinking cap on now. If you go out in a rainstorm at noon, where is the anti-solar point? That's right, at your feet. Now look around in arc around your feet and you aren't going to find a rainbow (nor a pot of gold). Likewise, you can go out in the rain at midnight...oh, never mind. You get the point. This is the reason you are most likely to see a rainbow in the sky around sunrise or sunset. And it should now make sense as to why I was standing in my sunrise spot at sunset, chasing rainbows.

Its just that simple. I'll let you work out some of the other details on your own. Those that are interested will. That that aren't won't. (But you'll never learn about a Moonbow.)

Don Brown
December 8, 2019

Friday, December 06, 2019

11,000 is Enough

Remembering I was an air traffic controller (a profession intently interested in weather)…

As I was looking at the weather report this morning, I noted (to my Facebook-weather-report friends) that I wasn't sure an 11,000 foot ceiling was high enough for the Sun to get under it and light up the sky. Turns out, it is.

I could see just a sliver of clear sky on the horizon this morning when I first got to the lake, one hour before official sunrise.  I really wasn't sure how the timing would work out.  The clouds were moving east, towards the sunrise and would, sooner or later, block it.  About 45 minutes before sunrise you could see the glow start.  (It was so dark at the time the autofocus wouldn't lock up but I tried anyway.)  The best color was to the right of my view of the lake so I had to walk down the face of the dam to get this shot.  

This was taken at 7:21 — just 7 minutes before official sunrise, during what I call the encore. There's often a pretty glow, early,  that fades away.  And then, just before sunrise, an intense but short burst of color.  It works (in reverse) for sunsets too.  I've seen many, many people (including photographers) walk away from a great sunset because the early color faded and they thought it was over. 


Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/15th

(BOB_4306)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Your Granny Is a Godless Communist


Let me ask you a question: Is your grandmother on Social Security? How about Medicare? Do you know who came up with Social Security? Do you know who got Medicare implemented? Go ahead. Look it up. I'll wait.




Now, let me ask you another question (or two):

Was Franklin D. Roosevelt "too liberal"?

Was Lyndon Baines Johnson "too liberal"?

If you answered "yes" to either of those, let's take a look at what history says. From Wikipedia:

_______________

Siena College Research Institute, Presidential Expert Poll of 2018


"On February 13, 2019, Siena released its 6th presidential poll.

The poll was initiated in 1982 and occurs one year into the term of each new president. It is currently a survey of 157 presidential scholars, across a range of leadership parameters.

The ranking gave the top five spots to George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt (FDR), Abraham Lincoln, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson. This top five, described as Mt. Rushmore plus FDR, was consistent with prior surveys. Washington had been ranked fourth in all previous surveys, and FDR first."
___________________




Let's think about this now: "Mt. Rushmore plus FDR". The greater truth is that FDR usually ranks in the top 3: Washington, Lincoln and FDR. (I'm always amazed that you just can't say "Roosevelt". Teddy is usually ranked 4th or 5th.) So the guy that came up with Social Security is considered the 3rd greatest President of all time -- right behind the guy that created the country and the guy that saved it.

(Let me interrupt myself to put this controversial idea into print. To the best of my knowledge -- in the history of the world -- only two men can be credited with saving the world. And FDR's daddy wasn't God.)

FDR was elected to 4 terms as President. Good or bad, it's kind of hard to deny his popularity. And speaking of popularity, can you name a program more popular with the Public than Social Security? You know, the program that keeps your Grandmother (Godless Communist that she is) from living in your basement?

So I'll ask again; Was FDR too liberal?



And that brings me to Lyndon Baines Johnson. Admit it. When I asked you to name a Government program more popular than Social Security, Medicare flashed through your brain didn't it? Can we all agree that Medicare is indeed insanely popular?










LBJ (#10 on this Presidential survey) was a lot of things but "liberal" usually isn't what tops the list. Right up until he was sworn in as President, most Americans thought of him as just another racist Southerner. He wasn't. Turns out, he was an FDR-Democrat Westerner. The Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, he doubled Federal spending on education, the Public Broadcasting Act -- his legislative accomplishments were simply breathtaking. None were bigger or more important than Medicare (and Medicaid).

So we go back to the question: Was LBJ "too liberal"?

I ask because I'm tired of hearing one of my local political pundits describe Elizabeth Warren as "too liberal" because she supports "Medicare for All". Now don't get me wrong. I like my local political pundit. (Well, sort of.) That's the reason I listen to him. But I hear the same sentiment from many other pundits. Given the position of Overton's Window these days, he's probably correct. But when you look at the facts, when you look at history, when you look at reality...the concept of Social Welfare is incredibly popular with the American Public.

Just because Conservatives have appropriated the words and vilified them doesn't change the fact that Granny is receiving a government retirement subsidy and is using "socialized medicine". And she loves it. It's not me that's calling her a Godless Communist/Socialist, it's the money guys -- the ones getting rich off of American's misery.

FDR and LBJ tried to end (or at least moderate) American's misery. Elizabeth Warren wants to do the same. (As do all the other Democrats.) "Welfare for All" is just advertising. What America needs (and the rest of civilized world has) is Universal Healthcare. I don't care how we get it. Just as long as we get it. Republicans probably want to end American's misery too. They just want somebody to be able to make a profit on it. They're willing to let you -- and your kids -- suffer until they get it. After all, Granny's got her's.

Don Brown
December 6, 2019


Thursday, December 05, 2019

The Quiet Colors

Nothing dramatic on the lake this morning.  Just the quiet colors of a foggy morning sunrise in winter.




Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
40mm
F8@1/8th

(BOB_4078)
©Don Brown 2019

 

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Whitetail Visitors

So there I was, photographing some dying weeds with pretty colors when I turned around and saw a small herd of whitetail deer.  A 200-500mm lens, mounted on a tripod, standing on a slope and with the camera set on manual so I could photograph the pretty, backlit weed.  What are the chances I can swing around a catch a shot of a deer?

Turns out, they were pretty good.  I've seen the deer dozens of times before and I've noticed that they can't really see me.  They're staring straight into the rising Sun. They know something's up.  They can see movement and they can hear me.  But if I'm quiet and move slow, they won't spook.

So I shoot a few frames through the brush and then I started moving slowly down the hill towards a clearing.  The tripod is now a liability but I drag it along with me anyway.  They finally spooked and I got this as they were running away. 


Nikon D7200 -- Nikon 200-500mm 5.6E ED VR
360mm
F5.6@1/400th
ISO 100
Cropped

(ROD_9126 - 2)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Pile-Up on J37

It was pretty for the sunrise this morning at the lake.  But to be honest, I think it was just a pile-up of contrails from planes flying on J37.  (Just in case y'all forgot I was an air traffic controller at Atlanta Center.)


Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
38mm
F8@1/8th

(BOB_3313)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Monday, December 02, 2019

Time to Shine

I hate to keep showing the same scene.  Even though I go to the same location every morning, I try to find a variety of angles and scenes to shoot.  But when it's your time to shine, I guess it's your time to shine.  Because of the position of the Sun (approaching its furtherest point south at the winter solstice) it continues to light up the point while most of the shoreline remains in shadow.  It's a scene that never grows old to me.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/60th

(BOB_3154)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Sunday Storm Breaks

When I walked into my closet this morning a gust of rain and wind hit the house so hard I did a double take.  A thunderstorm on December 1st?  The lightning came along just after I was dressed and drinking coffee.  I know it sounds bad but if you're a outdoor photographer, it's actually good.  The light is always interesting when a storm breaks.  Especially near sunrise or sunset.


Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/50th

(BOB_2786)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Rock in Sky

It was a nice sky this morning above the lake.  It just wasn't where I needed it to be.  I threw a rock in it.

Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
58mm
F8@1/80th
ISO 400
Cropped



I didn't see the leaf floating at the edge of the frame so I had to crop it a little.  ISO 100 wasn't giving me the shutter speed I wanted to keep the ripples from blurring too much so I cranked up the ISO to 400.  (Don't forget I bracket my exposures by changing the shutter speed.)

(BOB_2404 -4)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Waiting for Winter

I know what you're thinking but, I don't retouch my pictures.


Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/25th
Polarizer

(BOB_1475)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Monday, November 25, 2019

Wallpaper Sky

If you can find an open sky on the East Coast, there's always the sky to photograph.  Well, okay, if you want to be a pessimist (and I am, want or not) there are contrails, and light pollution and other man-made problems in the sky.  Just not nearly as many as there are on the ground.

I couldn't find a composition of any ground elements to include in this picture that didn't involve a utility line or a streetlight so I went with just the sky.  It does make a nice wallpaper from your computer desktop. 


Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/80th

(BOB_0308)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Saturday, November 23, 2019

Second Best

Nothing but dullness on the lake this morning.  Here's the second best from yesterday. 

Yes, the color is better.  But it doesn't have the interestingness of the lake.  If this had been a Photography Park, all I would have to do would be move to the left a 100 yards.  But in that it's not, that would put my in my neighbor's backyard and the streetlight would be in the way anyway…. 



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
52mm
F8@10 seconds

(BOB_0053)
©Don Brown 2019

 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Where's My Park?

Another morning that has me dreaming of a Photography Park.  I know I sound like a fisherman, but, you should have see the sky that got away.  

It was a wonderful morning — the kind that makes all the picture-less mornings worth getting up for.  Still, I was frustrated time and time again by utility wires, roads and street lights.  If I can find the time, I'll share some of the pictures with you.  In the meantime, I need to keep asking myself, "Where's my park?". 



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@8 seconds

(BOB_0063)
©Don Brown 2019 

 


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Quickly Fall Fades

How quickly Fall fades after such a beautiful show of colors.  But I've always found beauty in winter too.  I hope that holds true for the rest of my life.


 
Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
32mm 
F11@1/25

(BOB_0028)
©Don Brown 2019

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Fall Hasn't Failed

It might be late, but Fall hasn't failed here yet.  I remember growing up in Macon, GA — just an hour south — and how disappointing the Fall leaves were compared to the mountains.  But the colors aren't bad here, even if they do seem to come later each year.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
48mm
F11@1/25th
Polarizer

(BOB_9780)
©Don Brown 2019

 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Fogged Mirror

The lake was calm enough to mirror the sky but the mirror was fogged.  Just another beautiful morning on the lake, listening to the birds sing.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@4 seconds

(BOB_9380)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Morning's Mirror

Before the wind picked up, the lake mirrored the morning's overcast sky.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@15 seconds

So, about that lens that I love to hate. I bought it for a trip to Italy. My wife was adamant that I not haul around 20 pounds of camera equipment — and a tripod. I said if that was to be, I’d need one of those does-everything lens. She said, “Here you go”. Curses! I really wanted one of those Nikon 16-80mm F2.8-4.0 lens and here I was spending money on this slow (F3.5 - F6.3) do-everything lens.

But here’s the thing. It really does do everything. As you can see from the Italy pictures (you did clink on the link, right?) it covered everything from the vista of city with rain approaching to the telephoto (300mm) shot of the altar at Saint Peter’s Basilica (handheld at 1/160th of second, no less). It was the first lens I owned with lens stabilization and it really is pretty amazing. Even if it is slow, zooms backwards from my other lens and “droops” when I use it vertically on a tripod.

The worst part is that it makes you lazy. If you don’t know what you need and you need to take a hike to get a picture — I take it. I really should take my bag...but it’s heavy. There are plenty of times I should use the 80-200mm F2.8…but I already have the 18-300mm on the camera and it’s good enough. It’s good enough to make you lazy.

So, the moral of the story is that I’d go on a another trip with just this lens — it’s good enough. But I’ll never go on another trip without a tripod. A 15 second shot (like today’s) is a 15 second shot. There is no substitute and you can’t hand-hold it. There are several shots I missed because I didn’t have one.

(BOB_8621)
©Don Brown 2019

Sky Road

It's not about the water.  It never has been.


 

Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
22mm
F8@1/100th
Cropped

(BOB_8708 - 2)
©Don Brown 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

Front Door Fall

A few years back, I decided to take a chance and plant a sugar maple in my front yard.  Supposedly, I'm too far south for them but, what the heck.  They're all over the place in the north Georgia mountains.  

It paid off.  This one is right outside my front door.  

  
Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
300mm
F6.3@1/15th
ISO 400 
Polarizer

Yep, a polarizer.  As I've said before, it's the only filter I use on a regular basis.  It's been raining all morning and the leaves have that shine that water puts on them.  A polarizer helps eliminate the shine and lets the colors show.  And that explains the rest of the exposure.  

F6.3 is as wide open an aperture as this lens allows (letting more light in).  (We can talk about my love/hate relationship with this lens another time.) I pushed the ISO up to 400 to allow for a slightly higher shutter speed (than my normal ISO 100 would). That still only gave me a 1/15th of a second shutter speed.  That's risky-slow for a leaf that can blow in the wind or flutter every time a raindrop falls on it.  So I waited for the wind to quit blowing and took a few dozen pictures to catch the limb when it wasn't moving (much).

(BOB_8597)
©Don Brown 2019

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Point Still Shines

Even after all this time, I still love this scene.  The Point comes through with the Fall colors once again.




Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
230mm
F8@1/60th
Polarizer

(BOB_8442)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Take the Hint

It was a lovely sunrise this morning.  Just a touch of everything — low clouds, high clouds and lake fog.  

But take the hint.  Winter is coming early.  We've only had 3 or 4 days of frost but tonight there's a chance of snow and or freezing rain. In that this is the South, you can expect the stores to be out of bread and milk before nightfall.  (Don't ask me why.  Southerners panic at any forecast of snow. They have to do something.)



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/10th
EV -1.7

(Monkeying around with video again and I forgot to set the EV adjustment to zero.)

(BOB_8115)
©Don Brown 2019

 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Bonhoeffer on Stupidity

This is by fr the most popular thing I've ever posted on Twitter. (Look down the right side of this page for my Twitter feed.) I wish I remembered where I found it but I don't. My priest (Episcopal, not Catholic) really liked a book about Bonhoeffer and when I saw this meme the name clicked.

Anyway, I thought it on point for our times.




Bonhoeffer was Christian intellectual that finally became a pastor. What made him famous was his immediate opposition to Hitler. The Nazis hung him during the final days of World War II -- when they knew they had lost the war. Bonhoeffer had an endlessly interesting life. You can read more about him at Wikipedia.

Patchy Fall

It was clear as a bell this morning and you've all seen the lake fog so I turned around and tried to find some interesting composition of the Fall colors.  It hasn't been a great Fall season but there's a little time left yet.




Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
70mm
F8@1/3rd

(BOB_7852)
©Don Brown 2019


 

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Visitors Dear

My wife always wonders how I can go to the same spot, day after day, and not get bored (after 13 years).  Some days it is boring.  But you'd be surprised how many things there are to see from the same place.

I was packing up to go home and there they were, crossing the road.  And they stayed still long enough for me to pull out the camera with the big lens.  The picture won't win any artistic prizes but it's a good lesson on how big a difference the light makes — with one in shadow and one in the sun.


Nikon D7200 -- Nikon 200-500mm 5.6E ED VR
500mm
F5.6@1/800th
ISO 800
Cropped

(RD1_8442 - 2)
©Don Brown 2019

 


Friday, November 08, 2019

I Need a Break

But I’m not going to get one. It’s supposed to be overcast most of the day. It doesn’t matter. I go out every morning regardless. The only thing that keeps me from taking pictures is lightning (and life’s little disasters).

I’m sure I would enjoy sunsets as much as sunrises. But it’s a funny thing about life. A multitude of things (and people) conspire to keep me from photographing a sunset. It’s a rare day something (or someone) prevents me from photographing a sunrise. And if you show up for every single one of them, sooner or later, you catch one.



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1/50th
(BOB_7722)
©Don Brown 2019

Thursday, November 07, 2019

People Need to Lose Money?

That's all I can conclude. After reading another article about another "flying Uber" (and thinking real hard for 5 minutes) the only answer I can come up with is; Some people need to lose money. I don't know if it's a tax thing or a gambling thing or what. But that's the only thing that makes sense because flying cars ain't gonna happen.

I'll pick on the New York Times because I have a digital subscription (I can't get a hard copy around here for miles and miles) and it's the last story I read. But you can pick (on) any flying car story you want. It ain't gonna happen.


"...within five years a fleet of them could provide a 10-minute trip from Manhattan to Kennedy International Airport for $70."

What makes anybody think they're going to get anything that flies within a mile of Kennedy (JFK)? Seriously? Do you think one of these things is going to fly you to your gate? To your terminal?

Here. I spun the image around so you can see what I'm talking about.




The red circle highlights the arrow showing which way is North. The red line/arrow points towards Manhattan, just like the departures that take off on runway 31L. If you were a big ol' jumbo jet taking off on runway 31L, you'd be pointed right at Manhattan to the west-northwest. That means you'd be flying right at that "fleet" of flying cars coming to JFK from Manhattan with all their passengers so happy they aren't stuck on the Belt Parkway.

Where are you going to land? Remember, your “"Jetsons”-like flying car" with it's "carbon fiber body" has a "36-foot wingspan". I know your magic carpet is going to land on the roof of Terminal 1 so you can visit Starbucks after shopping at Hermes, Princess, but where is the rest of the "fleet" supposed to park? After all, it says it right there in the article, this flying car thing "is not just a rich person’s toy".

Lets read a little more critically shall we people? I mean, somebody is supposed to believe in this fairy tale, right? This article did appear in the New York Times so there must be some kernel of reality in it, right?

"There aren’t enough air traffic controllers now to handle a big influx of flights across cities."

Oh dear. I always wonder of everybody else feels this way when a reporter starts talking about their own area of expertise. Tell you what. I'm not even going to bother. After all, these things are going to be automated so we'll just say they're going to automate the (non-existant) ATC system that will handle them too. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

Self-Driving Uber in Crash Wasn’t Designed to See Jaywalkers

Say again? How in God's name can you program an autonomous car and not think about jaywalkers? And you think these guys are going to automate flying? Above a densely-packed urban environment? In all kinds of weather? (Getting back to the flying car problem...)

"Executives say the company has completed hundreds of test flights and simulations, but none were held during the visit because of rain and wind."

Ah. So there is a touch of reality in this story.

I really don't mean to be the pessimist but, hey, somebody has to. I'm glad there are dreamers out their trying to accomplish the impossible. That's what the Wright Brothers were. I've watched the Lilium video. This thing is way cool. But affordable? Think of the energy requirements for vertical takeoff. Trip after trip, day after day, month after month. The wear and tear on the 36 engines. Maybe one day some energy breakthrough will make all this technically feasible. However, nobody has cracked the code in my lifetime.

But the thing that always brings me up short? I've actually driven the Belt Parkway. (Yeah, even Georgia rednecks are allowed to do it.) But if you haven't, imagine you're watching a movie. Everybody has seen a movie scene with a New York traffic jam. Some strange, alien energy force lifts all the cars on the Belt Parkway into the air and the traffic jam becomes airborne. Just imagine it.

Then imagine they are all given flight controls they can use. They can go forward, up, down, backwards -- heck -- we'll even say they can stop in mid-air. Hover. Now, instead of a 2 dimensional traffic jam you have a 3 dimensional one. Ready? Set? Go.

Just remember -- a fender bender will kill you. And the people on the ground below you.

Don
November 7, 2019

Muted Morning

All the Fall colors were muted this morning by an overcast sky at the lake.

Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
200mm
F8@1/25th

(No, a polarizer doesn't help without any sun *shine*.)



(BOB_7648)
©Don Brown 2019
 

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Presto Polarizer

In case you've ever wondered what a polarizer filter does for a camera…



Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
62mm
F8@1/13th
Polarizer

(BOB_7519)
©Don Brown 2019






 Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
62mm
F8@1/30th
(BOB_7520)
©Don Brown 2019


The difference in the exposure (1/13th vs. 1/30th) is the amount of light a polarizer costs you. (The pictures were taken 8 seconds apart.) I'll save myself from making a long-winded explanation about how it works. Wikipedia is your friend. The meter in the camera read the same for each exposure.

Don
November 6, 2019 

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

I Ain't That




After wasting an hour looking for the right (non-existent) YouTube clip, I'll just have to use my best Dr. Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy typing voice and say, "Damn it Jim, I'm a ____, not a writer." You see? There it is, right there. I don't even know what I am anymore.



Mostly, I'm retired. And I never get tired of saying it. I love being retired. So don't ever think about me having any kind of pity party. I've got it made. I wish everyone had it as good as I do (and don't understand why folks won't believe me when I tell them how it can be done).

But what am I? I noticed it when I retired -- men are defined by what they do for a living. I knew who I was. I was an air traffic controller. (I don't get tired of saying that either.) But once you're retired? And I've been retired for...13 years. (Wow!) So what am I now? Well, I'm a photographer. But I always feel like I have to put a qualifier on that. I'm an amateur photographer. (We can get into it later if you want.) I try to photograph the sunrise every day. (It's the best time of day. I'm always alone.) Since I've retired, I've discovered I really enjoy photographing the rodeo. (You'll see a lot of that.) I sing in the church choir now but I am definitely not a musician. I'm not a grandfather either. (I have to remind my children of that whenever I get a chance.)


(BOB_7247)
©Don Brown 2019

And the one thing I'm sure I am not is a writer. I don't remember who any of my English teachers were (my favorites were science teachers), I can't parse a sentence and I wouldn't know a split infinitive from a dangling participle. I can't even spell. (By the way, Google is the best spellchecker ever. It can guess what I'm after even when all other spellcheckers fail. Yes, I'm that bad at it.)

So, I have no idea why James Fallows is so nice to me nor why he has been that way for so many years. But if you want to hang around to read whatever I manage to cobble together, you are welcomed indeed. I'll do my best not to bore you on a regular basis. And if nothing else, you'll be able to look at the pictures.

Don
November 5, 2019

That's Pretty Dang Sharp

(Okay, now I'm just monkeying around to see what I can do with Blogger.)

 This is a shot from a recent rodeo that is cropped way, way, way down.  (About 1/6th of the original image.)  I've been having trouble with getting sharp images from this camera.  I took a look at this image and thought, well, "that's pretty dang sharp".  I mean, I can read  "Farmers Co-op" on the breast collar, see the tape on his boots and the orange knife in his pocket.  (I can't read the label on his jeans.  Just to let you know there are limits.)

It reminds me of the only two rules you need to know about photography when things go wrong.

#1 Check the battery
#2 Check the operator

Nikon D7200 -- Nikon 80-200mm F2.8
200mm
F5.6@1/1,00th
ISO 1,100
EV - 0.3

By this time in the rodeo I was reduced to holding an umbrella in one hand and shooting with one hand.  So the camera is on a tripod with a gimbal head.  I can't zoom, focus or adjust my shutter settings with just one hand so I'm totally reliant on the auto setting.  Basically I'm just banging away and hoping for the best.  

(RDO_7174 - 3)
©Don Brown 2019




 

A Passing Shower

I heard it before I felt it.  Just a passing shower during a cloudy sunrise on the lake.

Nikon D7000 -- Nikon 18-300mm 6.3 ED VR
18mm
F8@1.3 seconds

(BOB_7349)
©Don Brown 2019



 


Monday, November 04, 2019

Testing, Testing...Maybe



It may be time to start writing again. Maybe. I still have things to say. Things somebody might be interested in reading. (Or maybe not.) But I find trying to cram my thoughts into Twitter frustrating and I grow more disgusted with myself for being on Facebook every day.

As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I'm happy with any social media. I still have my Flickr account. It no longer allows me to email my pictures in (doubling the time it takes me to post a photo) so I'm not happy with them either. (Especially seeing as they charge me for the privilege.) Part of writing this post is to see how annoying Google's Blogger platform might be. I'm already hesitant about it because...

The price of "free" is becoming more and more apparent every day. Just as we (adults) knew it would. Our privacy hangs on the very thin thread that no one is really interested in us. Companies are interested in our data...and they have it. But companies are not really interested in me as a human. Companies are interested in us as customers. Sources of revenue. But no one is trying to use the fact that my wife broke her kneecap and I won't get to photograph the biggest rodeo of the year against me. Well, not until I make the right (wrong?) kind of enemies. Right now, the people that run the social media companies are just trying to make money off of all that.

How long does it take to get to the hospital from here? Google maps. What's the doctor's telephone number? Google him. Best put it in my calendar so I don't forget the time. Now Apple knows. Delete the rodeo from my calendar. Apple knows that now. It really doesn't take that long to figure out what I'm up to. And as long as no one *person* cares about it, we don't care. But it's not hard to envision a scenario where suddenly, a *person* does want to know something about us. By then, it's too late. All the information is out there. It might be hard to get to (I bet not. It's gathered to be sold. Easily.) but not impossible.

So, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the company that insures my wife's soon-to-be-surgeon has already paid another company to see if we've ever sued another surgeon. Does my bringing that to your attention have a "chilling effect" on whether or not you might ever consider suing a doctor in the future? Yeah, "free" does have a price.

I'm thinking I might want to pay for my own blog site. (Actually, I already do. The Photography Park is still a dream.) And then there is testing out all the fronts (Blogger, WordPress, etc.) We'll see.

Don Brown
November 4, 2019

Short But Sweet