Archive for May, 2014

My second contributions to this week’ s Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-Second Story  comes in two, you might call them flavors. Both concern the same baby ducklings and the same momma duck. I think the photos tells the tale with some immediacy — don’t get too close I’ve got my eye on you — but it is up to the viewer to judge.Ducklings - May 31, 2014 - 392

Ducklings - May 31, 2014 - 409

 

I have two contributions to this week’ s Weekly Photo Challenge: Split Second Story. My first involves the immature Bald Eagle shown here and the split second is a very small fraction of one as the eagle is poised to strike the water hoping to catch its primary food source, a fish. This eagle was successful but somewhere between 80%-90% of such efforts are not.

Bald Eagles - January 10, 2014 - 235

What a wonderful challenge idea Cee.

Here is my story of water – from droplet to ocean and back again. I hope you enjoy the rather lengthy journey.

The first stop is two drops of water that are held by bits of moss.

Raindrops on moss

Raindrops on moss

While much of this water will sink back into the earth to replenish aquifers or run off to do duty elsewhere, some will evaporate. Evaporated these two water drops band together with millions of billions of others to form clouds that can be jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Rural Railroad Crossing - July 19, 2013 - 73

However, those same water drops can become nightmarishly dangerous if you are driving on a rural highway in the blinding rain.

Traveling America - Downpour on Highway 2-2

Of course these water drop can also fall in the form of snow …

In the Cascades - April 17, 2013 - 43

or may become ice and form gigantic glaciers or the most delicate of structures.

Flight.

The gathering of water is among the most common sights on earth given that more than 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water.

Water readily forms puddles …

Circlepalooza - April 19, 2013

and ponds.

Spring at Army Ammunition Plant - May 05, 2014 - 068

Left to its own devices  it will gather into cleansing wetlands.

Cherokee Marsh in the Fog - September 26, 2013 - 53

Water is the great way station and play station for a myriad of wildlife from Canadian Geese

Goose Prepares for Flight - October 02, 2013 - 68-E

to bald eagles (here an immature bald eagle)

Immature Bald Eagle - January 10, 2014 - 15

to Sandhill cranes.

Sandhill Cranes1

When the drops of water do not sink into the ground, they gather together first into streams …

Columbia River Gorge  - April 21, 2013 - 0038

that lead to great lakes like Lake Michigan

Sunset on Lake Michigan

and mighty rivers like the Columbia River

Columbia River Gorge  - April 21, 2013 - 0416

… all inexorably making their way to the oceans.

Here we see two surfers in the Pacific near Cannon  Beach in Oregon,

Surfers near Cannon Beach. OR

while the view of the Pacific in Monterey is much more peaceful.

There is a House Back There

It is in the oceans that the water, heated by the sun, drives the climate. Eventually that water freshened by evaporation raises itself again and ultimately gathers itself into the weather systems we watch for and when the rain falls we see in it our own renewal.

Self-portrait

Magnolia after heavy rain - May 27, 2014 - 003 Magnolia after heavy rain - May 27, 2014 - 024

In my previous post I mentioned that very heavy rains had decimated the flowers in our Magnolia Tree … except for two … one of which is fully mature and the other of which is just blooming. In the interest of completing this story, here are the two survivors.

Magnolia after heavy rain - May 27, 2014 - 005

We have had several really heavy rainfalls over the last day or so and they have hit the blossoms on our Magnolia tree hard. Only one of the flowers in full bloom survived as did one of the flowers just blooming. As for the remainder of the Magnolia blossoms, this picture sums up their fate.

No Meteorites

My sister (via my niece) informed me on the evening of May 23rd that there was going to be a spectacular meteor shower in the early morning hours of May 24th. Since it was a moonless night with a cloud-free sky, Wisconsin was expected to be one of the best places to see this display. While it was very difficult to do, at the appointed time (a little before 1 a.m., I packed up my camera and tripod and headed up the road that leads to the Cherokee Marsh. I wasn’t sure it would be dark enough to get good photos there, but I knew it was as far as I was going to be able to go. Also, it is on the north side of town and the meteors were supposed to be coming from a place in the northern part of the sky.

Unfortunately no one had told the meteors about the show and virtually none attended.  I’m not sure why the promised show didn’t materialize but I and a half a dozen people who had picked the same location to watch the show ended up seeing virtually no meteors – nada. Still it was a beautiful night and I could sleep in when I returned home.

I subsequently looked through all of the photos I had taken that evening. I had moved the camera around to get various views of the night sky, but a group of 38 of my photos were shot from a position that faced exactly due north. I realized this when I scrolled through them in Lightroom and watched the stars spin around the northern axis. All of my photos from that location were taken with the same ISO 1600 f/4.5  30 second exposure. My exposures covered a 28 minute time period. I wasn’t sure what I would get if I combined the photos but I figured it had to be more interesting than a photo of no meteor shower. In a twist worthy of the Weekly Photo Challenge, the combined photo of no meteors turned out rather nicely, as you can see. Serendipity is alive and well, or at least was during that meteor-free morning and as I subsequently viewed my photos in Lightroom.

By the way, this photo was created using a method that is typically used to stack star trails. In that case, the exposures are typically much longer and you would normally be taking an entire night’s worth of photos. Here is a nice article about how to do this kind of stacking using a few different methods. Since I have Photoshop CS6 Extended, it was remarkably easy. I further enhanced the image in Lightroom 5.

Magnolia in Fog -1

I got up quite early the other morning in order to let the dogs out. It was just past dawn and still quite dark, outside darker than I expected it would be. It turned out that it was very foggy. As soon as I knew about the fog I started getting my camera ready for the time when I would have a reasonable amount of light to get some photos of the Magnolia tree in the backyard. I had been photographing the Magnolia for about a month while the tree first budded and eventually – after a long delay – bloomed. Here is one of the blossoms  that I photographed on that very misty/foggy morning.