The lesson of these pictures is that I need more exercise.
This week’s full Moon will be the largest full Moon of the year. The two days to get outside and enjoy the largest full Moon of 2007 are Thursday and Friday. I lifted this article below from SpaceWeather.com for your perusal if you are interested in more information.
This week’s full Moon is the biggest full Moon of 2007. It’s no illusion. Some full Moons are genuinely larger than others and Thursday night’s will be a whopper. Why? Read the answer below.
The Moon’s orbit is an ellipse with one side 30,000 miles closer to Earth than the other. The full Moon of Oct. 25-26 is located on the near side, making it appear as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser full Moons we’ve seen earlier in 2007.In the language of astronomy, the two ends of the Moon’s orbit are called “apogee” and “perigee.” Apogee is the farthest point, perigee the nearest: diagram. This week’s full Moon is a “perigee Moon” with extra-high “perigean tides.”
The Moon is 14% bigger, but can you actually tell the difference? It’s not so easy. There are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. A fun experiment: Take a friend outside Thursday night and ask if they notice anything unusual about the Moon. Explain perigee after they answer.
You know how newspapers can print absolutely anything despite the facts and then when somebody actually calls them on it they run a retraction buried on page 12F in the smallest font imaginable? Well I’m not a newspaper. I’m not anybody even pretending to be a news outlet. So I’ll print my retraction right here.
This weekend wasn’t the weekend when fall colors are going to peak in Central Iowa. It is next weekend. I made this mistake because I still haven’t gotten any quality sleep and I labored under the thought since Friday that this weekend was the weekend of the 20th.
So I will celebrate next weekends fall color explosion (although predictions are for a moderate explosion at best) with going on a train ride.
I did go out with my new toy on Friday night, but realized that I forgot to grab a battery. So I had to drive back to Boone after FNSC. By the time I got back out to a relatively low light pollution zone, the clouds that had parted while I was at McFarland Park had come back. In the end, it was a fairly barren source of amusement.
FNSC added a new auxiliary member this past Friday. Jason Baier joined us on the patio at La Carreta on a brisk summer night. His name will now go down in the annals of history with other Auxiliary Members of FNSC:
That Kristy girl Willy works with
I’m sure there have been others. I just don’t have the official FNSC Ledger with me at this time where all of our exploits have been documented. Even if I did have it with me, it takes all 3 of our keys to open the book any way.
If you would like to be at least as cool as Jesse Howard, you may one day join us for a Supper Club. All you have to do is give me a call and if you don’t have my phone number, I probably don’t like you that much any way.
After FNSC Jason and I cruised the town in a Rideshare van. You would think this was against “Rideshare” rules, but apparently as a backup driver he is entitled to dip into this 200 mile personal use monthly pool that the drivers get to split up. Only he is the only person that uses the miles because he is running some kind of scam on this elderly lady that is the other driver. I didn’t want to get too much information on the situation in case I was going to have to testify against him at a later date.
We cruised the Rideshare van around, looking awful cool, then stopped and took the picture below:
I would consider it a fairly successful evening.
In the ancient history of the family Bennett there has been one family that has stood by its side as friends. That other family is the Herricks. What I’m getting at is that Amy Herrick an old family friend (her dad and my dad were friends) is getting married very shortly. For reasons unknown to me, she has asked me to do the photography for her wedding. Now I am a lot of things (brilliant, funny, dashing) but skilled portrait photographer is not on the business card. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t mean to give a game effort.
However, when I was taking stock of the situation I realized that I was missing one ingredient that I would need to even give this thing a shot. A decent flash. That is correct, I do not own even a passable flash. So I went out and purchased one. Then I went out to Ledges to run some tests, also known as playing. What unfolds before your eyes below is what I captured.
The color saturation in some of those pictures is off the charts and I dig it!
Yes I know there is an obvious flaw in my test, my “top” photo assistant has already made me aware of the situation.
I believe I received feedback from over 20 people during the second round of voting. That was awesome and I appreciate all the time that everybody took to voice their opinion. In the end, I could only enter six pictures in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. So I now reveal the six pictures that advanced and a little bit about them.
I did not actually spend much time considering the names for each picture, so in the end the names are admittedly pretty lame. I can deal with it if you can.
The first image is from when the #844 stopped in Boone on its Midwest tour a couple of months ago. I took this picture in the Boone train yard while it was on display. The train was surrounded by other people so I made a conscious effort to find interesting angles to shoot the train while trying to keep the other humans around out of the shot. This picture was originally captured in color, but I converted it to black and white as the palette was already quite monochrome.
Last, Loveliest Smile Redux
This second image was created sort of out of a collection of follies. I had been wanting to take a hammer to a negative and then scan the negative with my home scanner, but I have never really found the time, proper negative, or hammer for the task. However, I do have a job where I get paid to play with printers and scanners. I had a copy of “Last, Loveliest Smile” hanging on the wall over my desk. I had printed this a long time ago with a Canon 1700 when we had first switched over to that printer after the Canon 1600 had been discontinued to see if the Canon 1700 lived up to the bold proclamation on the box that it was “photo lab quality”. For the record, the Canon 1700 does not print photo lab quality. It does make a decent appointment card printer if you don’t mind replacing it every 4 months when the ink trap gets full. However, it was a decent enough print for me to put some tape on the back of it and throw it up on the wall above my computer next to “Blue Steel” and “Kentucky Appetizer” and “Grizzly McAlpine”.
A couple weeks ago one of our customers ordered a pretty decent document scanner. (Truth be known they ordered a label printer and the order was filled out incorrectly so I shipped them a document scanner) While I was testing this scanner I wondered if it would scan a crumpled up piece of paper. So I pulled “Last, Loveliest Smile” off the wall and crumpled it up. Then I crumpled it up some more. Then I threw it against the wall and jumped up and down on it. Then I uncrumpled the sheet of paper and ran it through the scanner. That is the story of the creation of “Last, Loveliest Smile Redux”. The creation of “Last, Loveliest Smile” is a whole other story.
Labour of Ages
I don’t know if there is much of a story to this picture. I was given the charge of watching over my friends Jen and Derrick’s dogs while they were off having fun in Wisconsin. While looking in on their dogs I walked past the flower garden and noticed this little flower fighting through several larger flowers to get to the sunlight. This flower had yet to fully bloom and I have always loved pictures of flowers that were not fully bloomed, although I usually find myself in the minority. I guess I believe in the end that flowers that haven’t fully bloomed yet are similar to humans. In the respect that all humans fall short and are never really fully developed. All we can do is fight through to our sunlight.
Jen worked very hard on their flower garden this year and it certainly paid off for me as I found quite a few fascinating images in their garden this year.
This picture was taken of Shannon at Living History Farms. I spent about half a day at Living History Farms when I was on vacation. I had always figured that Living History Farms was one of the most boring places on Earth, but Shannon argued that nobody that loved history could be bored by such a place. So I went to visit. Shannon works at the 1900 Farm so she gave me the tour. (However, I don’t feel it was the full tour because she would not take me to see the boars.) We went up to the hayloft and the lighting up there was magnificent. Not boring flat light, but a bright beam of sunlight broke through the doors at the top of the barn and shone down on Shannon like a spotlight. I don’t want to say that it perfectly lit her, because I don’t think that does it justice. I believe that the light illuminated her. She says that she thinks the picture makes her look like an angel. I’ll leave that for the historians to decide. I did change the picture from color to black and white even though I loved the original color image because the black and white helped hide a bit of lens flare that was clearly visible across the front of her skirt. Ahh, lens flare! One of the hazards of shooting directly into light.
This picture is somewhat of a miracle. Not in the respect that it exists, but in the respect that it made it to the contest. It came very close to not making it to Round 2. In fact the only reason it made it to the second round was because of a last second phone call from Jesse Howard saying that he wanted to vote for this picture as well.
Even though it limped out of the first round of voting, it was a juggernaut in the second round. Absolutely crushing the competition in the second round. At the top of most of the pages on my website is a quote from Picasso:
“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”
I don’t know if there is a picture that lives up to this quote on my entry slate than “Faux Sunset”. Most people have told me that it is a lovely sunset picture. It might be lovely, but if they were to concentrate more closely on the first word in the title, they would know that this is not a picture of a sunset at all.
I took this picture on a foggy night in Ledges back in April. The picture is of a street lamp. I became enamored with making a picture of a mysterious light in the woods. My hope was to eliminate the light source and just capture the light through the trees. I thought it would be a curiosity. What was making that light? I’m a huge fan of 50s Science Fiction. People who spend time with me inevitably end up sitting on a couch watching the original “The Outer Limits” on DVD at some point. Movies like “Forbidden Planet” and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” were my influences for taking this picture.
In the end, people didn’t find this picture mysterious at all. They saw it quite clearly as a sunset. I haven’t decided if fooling people is good enough when what I wanted to do was make people wonder.
The final picture to sneak in is “Franklin”. This picture was taken back in June. I had committed to helping Shannon make soap, but at that time I had not realized that the soap making day was on the same day as Brian Beavers’ wedding.
I showed up to help make soap, but I had to leave early in the process to drive to Grinnell to attend the wedding. I wanted to take a few pictures of the soap making process because I thought that it made an interesting subject.
Shannon had let her cat Franklin wander around outside in an effort to make him tougher. The lessons weren’t sinking in because he spent a good portion of his time outside begging to be let inside. He stuck his head through the railing bars of the front steps and I took this picture.
There have been times in the past where I have been accused of not liking cats. Whether or not that is true, I have never denied that cats had interesting eyes. For that reason I chose to keep Franklin’s eyes in color and change the rest of the picture to black and white. I was hoping that because Franklin was already black and white a person giving a cursory glance to the image would not be able to tell that the eyes were the only part of the image that is in color. It would take a deeper examination of the image to reveal this fact.
This is a technique I have used before with “Outburst of the Soul” and “Lost Dreams”. I do like it, but hope not to over use it as its effects can be almost too obvious sometimes.
I end this entry with an e-mail I got from Derrick Gorshe. I don’t want to say that I rate or rank the correspondence I have with my amigos, but I would say that this e-mail he sent me is one of my favorite e-mails I have ever received. He was casting his vote in the second round:
When Storm Thorgerson of “Hipgnosis” (the man and company responsible for most of Pink Floyd’s cover art)was questioned about his design of the late sixties albumn “Atom Heart Mother”, he said that that particular photo of a cow was the most perfect cow photo ever. No photo before and probably ever would convey “Cow” as much as that particular photo, and while it really had nothing to do with the source material within the record, that was enough to make it memorable.
It is this reasoning that leads me to my two choices.
“Franklin” is truly a picture of a cat. And while that statement says very little in and of itself, that is enough to make it memorable. The other choice falls between two of the other photos.
I really like “Clouds with Color” for the same reason….it is the ultimate picture of clouds and as such is very memorable, but I also really like “Faux Sunset”. It may not be the definitive picture of a sunset, but it really is quite beautiful, and conveys a feeling of peace and a quiet end of the day. A little mystery remains with that sunset though. The day has closed quietly, but the night remains open to unlimited possibilities and anything is possible. Good or bad, it’s an evening you likely will never forget.”
Thanks to Jay calling me at 3:30 in the morning I was able to drag myself out of bed and head out to the Harrier Marsh Wildlife Management Area. This has long been one of my favorite places to go sky watching and Tuesday morning found it abandoned. Perfect conditions.
I did manage to take a few pictures, but confess to not be particularly satisfied with any of them, but I did learn tons and I look forward to the next lunar eclipse. What I got is shown below. It should be noted that most of these pictures are fairly heavily cropped so don’t think I was packing a super long lens out there. Perhaps I’ll get such a lens for next time.