A friend and work colleague of mine who also happens to be a photographer started posting snapshots in her Facebook feed last week. The challenge was to take a photo a day from your life with no people featured in them and provide no explanation. Oh, and they must be black and white photos.
This intrigued me as my first camera back in the early or mid 70s had been a small inexpensive fixed lens camera that used small rolls of black and white film. My dad had a dark room at home but I don’t think we ever developed film that I shot in my camera, at least not until I was much older and part of the yearbook staff in high school.
I decided to revisit my youth and took up the challenge. I also happened to be on vacation this week so I had plenty of time to think of what sites in and around my home would lend themselves to good black and white photography.
Here’s the seven I posted daily on my Twitter and Facebook feed:
And here are all the photos I took in the last week that I used as the pool of photos to choose from:
The day after the Kansas City metro area got nearly a foot of snow dumped on it, I ventured out to return to work. Most of the local schools and some businesses remained closed that day, but not my employer or the employer of one of my other vanpool riders. On the commute home, I enjoyed watching some sun dogs playing around the sinking sun. My smartphone camera just doesn’t do them justice:
I almost missed the sunrise this morning because I overdid it yesterday trying to contain my oak tree’s leaf largesse. I ran out of leaf bags (two left over from last year plus ten more purchased this week from Home Depot) and the rain (or is that reign?) of leaves continues.
I fell out of bed at about a quarter to six and this is what I saw out my bedroom window:
Not bad with just my smartphone camera on “Dawn” setting.
I’m taking the rest of the morning ‘off’ to recover from yesterday. Home remodeling projects will be calling my name this afternoon.
You can tell it’s spring time in Kansas by my frustration with clouds and astronomical observing. I don’t grumble much, so long as the clouds provide relief for our record drought, as they did last weekend with two days of good rain on top of the melting snow left over from Winter Storms Q and Rocky. I decided to skip, again, the ASKC‘s Messier Marathon, scheduled for Monday evening, mostly because it fell on a week night, but also because the clouds did not appear to be cooperating. And the drive home, westward, did not fill me with confidence for my odds of spotting comet PanSTARRS and the thin crescent moon, potentially one of the youngest I’d yet observed.
Upon arriving home, clouds still obscured the sun sporadically to the west. My husband and I grabbed a quick bite to eat at the local Arby’s and I walked Apollo upon returning home, despite the brisk wind out of the northwest. I had just sat down to watch something with Terry when I checked out the window one last time. Miraculously, the western horizon appeared cloud free. I handed Terry the remote, shoved on my boots, grabbed the camera, binoculars and tripod and ran to the van. As I drove west along Eisenhower Road, I received a call from my Dad, who was back in Lansing, at the spot where we observed the Transit of Venus last June. I told him I was heading to a small rural church parking lot at the corner of Eisenhower and County Shop Road, because it has slightly less light pollution than the hill overlooking Main Street (K-7/US-73) in Lansing.
I arrived about ten minutes before eight o’clock. I uncapped my binoculars and took a quick look at the thin crescent moon, one of the slimmest ones I’ve yet observed. Later, I calculated it was also the youngest I’ve observed, just twenty-nine (29) hours old. Here’s the photo I took of it fifteen minutes later, after I’d setup the tripod and put the telephoto lens on my camera:
I continued to take photographs for another twenty-five minutes but never did find the comet with my naked eyes. Using my binoculars, I did locate comet PanSTARRS about a quarter after eight. When I reviewed my photographs after downloading them to my computer, I realized I’d actually captured it earlier, in a photo taken one minute after the one shown above. The best shot of the crescent moon and the comet came another fifteen minutes later though:
I called my dad back, since we’d gotten cut off by bad cell phone reception out in the county. He confirmed his inability to spot the comet without optical aid and wished me a good night. I packed up the equipment and returned home. I fed the dogs while I downloaded the photos to Terry’s computer and quickly reviewed them, selecting a few of the better shots to upload to Flickr to share with family and friends. By that time, I needed to hit the sack, so I left writing this blog until morning.
Happy hunting to all of you this week. Grab a pair of binoculars and look west, young men and women, look west for comet PanSTARRS.
No repeats. No snoozing to ‘You Got Me Babe’ from the alarm clock. Just one single solitary sunrise to greet the groundhog last Saturday morning:
I almost gave up on this sunrise. The clouds stayed a dismal grey until the last ten minutes or so before sunrise. At least I had a cub of fresh made Irish Blend tea to keep me warm while I waited for the drab to transform to gilded.
When I let Apollo out this morning at 5:30 a.m., I saw the moon. I didn’t think much of that until I let him back in and it dawned on me (pun intended) that I could probably see the sunrise today. Today being New Year’s Day 2013. I was supposed to wake up to snow falling, not mostly clear skies.
I groaned, though, because even without a wind, the temperature plummeted over night to the lower teens. I didn’t fancy standing outside for a half hour or more to photograph a sunrise. I made a compromise and setup the tripod and camera in the as-yet-unfinished Purple bedroom, where the window faces east and doesn’t currently have a screen installed. I could open the double-pane window and have an uninhibited view of the eastern horizon (with the exception of the leafless winter tree skeletons silhouetted against it).
I waited until five minutes after sunrise but should have hung around ten minutes or so longer. Instead, I went outside to shovel the driveway and the stairs before the sun, which wasn’t supposed to be shining this morning, could melt the powdery stuff to ice. The sunrise never produced any golden or pink overtones to the clouds, but it did become a bit more dramatic than what I photographed above while I shoveled snow. Oh well, such is life.
I went outside Wednesday evening to photograph our exterior Christmas lighting decorations. As I walked down the front steps, I could see most of Orion rising in the east. The Hunter seemed to be reclining in a dreamy, wispy, foggy pose. I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos, the best of which is displayed below: