Shooting The Night Sky

The night sky. It is a subject that has eluded me to photograph, not from the lack of trying.

Deana - 1991 - B&W
Deana – 1991 – B&W (Photo credit: BrainMuffin)

The problem is from the lack of knowledge of technique and equipment.

My journey down the load of photographing at night start not long after my father taught me to use his Pentax Spotmatic. He should me what the f/stop did, what depth of field meant and how to adjust the shutter speed. He covered ASA ratings of film and which to use when. He talked about knowing what you want to photograph and how to think about the adjustments you wanted to make.

I did black and white still-life’s. I did color photos. I took pictures of everything. I photographed roads and leaves, covered bridges and dogs. Nothing was out of the question. I went through lots of film.

One night, I had an idea. I remembered my father had cables releases and they looked. I did some experiments with multiple minute exposures out my brother’s bedroom window to the snow covered streets outside. It was night and the street lights were on. They turned out not bad for a 14 year old. My interest starts.

As time went on, I eventually obtained a Nikon D80 and a good tripod. Several times I tried to take pics in my backyard. Not too many stars are visible thanks to the high levels of light pollution around Cincinnati. I tried a telephoto lens. I aimed at the moon. I did 10 second exposures. I did 20 seconds. I did bulb with a remote, closing the shutter when I wanted.

Results were mixed. Stars where blurry, so was the moon. Did the tripod slowly move? I use the same one for landscape photography and don’t see movement. Could it be the Earth that is moving?

On the evening of the 17th of July, 2012, I was in Moab, Utah. North of Moab is Arches National Park. It is open at night. Surely there are many stars visible there. My wife and I visited.

Having flown to Utah, a tripod was not available. The car roof and my camera strap is all I had. I took 20 and 30 second exposures. I move the ISO up and down. Sometimes, a car drove my and light up the rocks. The results were not bad.

When it comes to photography, I know what I know and I know what I know not. Night and star photography I don’t really know. Here are some of my results and I need some help. Feel free to leave comments and suggestions. Others can be seen in my Flickr photostream.

Arches National Park at Night #1
Arches National Park at Night #1 (Photo credit: BrainMuffin)
Arches National Park at Night #2
Arches National Park at Night #2 (Photo credit: BrainMuffin)
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Coming To A Close

It was months in making and planning. A combination celebration of our 20th wedding anniversary and our summer vacation. Sending the kids out by plane was too much, so having to drive to the in-laws was in. To save more money, we left from Newport-News instead of Richmond. We drove many miles and took a mid-night flight out of Salt Lake City. Today, is the last day.

Bogue Inlet Pier-Emerald Isle, NC
Bogue Inlet Pier-Emerald Isle, NC (Photo credit: Michael D. Dunn)

Time. It comes and goes, always at the same rate, though it is perceived differently. For this year’s vacation, time has nearly run out. It is bittersweet.

We have traveled from Cincinnati, Ohio to Mechanicsville, Virginia by car. From Newport News, Virginia to Salt Lake City, Utah via Denver Colorado by plane. We have driven all over central and southern Utah. Then from Salt Lake to Jacksonville, North Carolina by air. Oh the miles. The miles flown. The miles driven. The miles walked.

Our adventures including hiking and geocaching in the rain on Antelope Island, getting bitten by bugs in the mountains above Park City and dealing with the sun and heat in Zion National Park and really getting burned in the Canyonlands and Arches National Park. Along the way, we eat buffalo cheeseburgers and did some star gazing. I have tried many different beers from Uinta, Wasatch, Moab and Epic.

It has been a very good, though tiring, trip. It was one we planned, not a travel agent. It was one we enjoyed. It was good.

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Tomorrow Will Be Epic

Budweiser promotional beer girl at a sporting ...
Budweiser promotional beer girl at a sporting event, the Canadian Grand Prix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is late. I am drinking a 4-Play Porter by Shades of Pale Brewing Company. I am blogging. It is our last night in Utah.

Tomorrow, or should I say later today, it will be a rather early rise. Packing, breakfast, some souvenir shopping and then off to Arches National Park. We went there tonight to look at the stars. I took a few photos. I’ll post links once I’ve processed them.

The porter, by the way, ain’t too bad. Here in Moab, they do have a Microbrewery. Been there three times. The beers are good and the food is excellent. The gelato is unbelievable, especially the vanilla. I digress.

Tomorrow is also our long drive back to Salt Lake City. At the end of that drive, however, is the epic portion of this whole trip. That is when we arrive at Epic Brewing Company. I’ve been looking forward to this since we decided to visit Utah. Yes, it is the last day and I still have to drive to turn in the rental car. Yes, I cannot over indulge. Yes and all that. The tour and lunch will still be Epic, no matter what. After all, it is Epic Brewing!

Already in touch with Epic Brewing as the Cincinnati Craft Beer Examiner, I look more than forward to the visit. I’ll get to talk to the brewers, see the facilities and taste the freshest beers possible. All in a state know more for Mormons than beer. Yes, it will be Epic.

So, cheers everyone. Pictures will be taken. Ideas will be exchanged. Beers will be tried. Epic-ness will be had.

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Twenty Years Passing

Twenty years ago, I was in a different place. July 11th in 1992 was on a Saturday. It was a

holding hands - age 10, and age 8
holding hands – age 10, and age 8 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

day when my life changed forever. It was the day I went from single life to married. Twenty years ago today. It is hard to believe it has been that long.

Two decades is quite a time. A new born from 1992 has been through high school. They are old enough to vote. Old enough to die for their country. Old enough to marry.

Two decades is time enough to pursue several dreams. Witness hope and tragedy; happiness and sorrow. Enough time to see dreams realized and lost again.

Two decades. Seemingly short, seemingly long. Some of the time was well spent. Some if it was wasted. All of it was lived.

I do look forward to the next twenty years and not in my marriage alone. Twenty years ago I was a full-time computer developer, content in creating solutions via an electronic means. I had started a bit on my path to entrepreneurship, but it was a side idea.

Now, I rarely develop and do not miss it. Each day, I seek opportunities to empower people. Whether they are employees or small business owners or individuals looking to change their lives. This is where I seek to head during the next twenty years. Time to create solutions through others. Time to show others they have more power and more knowledge in themselves than they realize. Time to let the world see new faces, new leaders.

It is time to move


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Packing Without Maggie

Suitcase (Photo credit: Perosha)

We are less than two days away from out first family vacation since we had to put Maggie dog down. She was quite old and stopped eating. She was wasting away before our eyes and it was time to say goodbye. We still miss her.

Whenever we started to pack for a trip, she would get nervous. It didn’t matter if everyone or only a single person would be gone. She would pace and follow me around the house. For a time, we could take her to my parent’s house to stay and for a day or so she would hide in their closet. Eventually, we left her at our house and they would come walk her. It helped a bit, but not completely.

This time around, there is no pacing. Snuggles doesn’t mind us going on trips and Toby has yet to experience it. They too will be split as old Snuggles is going to my parent’s house and Toby is going to a local animal hotel. They both will be taken care of, though the experience will be new. We shall see how well, or not, they do.

Still, I miss the nervous Maggie roaming around the house. She was a stray we took in 15 years ago and she lived with us for 14.5. We do not know how old she actually was. She was mild mannered and great with the kids when they were little. We miss you Maggie and are glad you were a part of our lives for so long.

Thank you.

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Time for Vacation

Emerald Isle , NC
Emerald Isle , NC (Photo credit: g2 Duckworth)

It is that time of year again. The time where we pack up everything and take it all across country to the beach at Emerald Isle, North Carolina. This year, however, there is a twist. With our twentieth wedding anniversary being on the eleventh of July, there is a second trip.

We will drive to the in-laws in Richmond, Virginia and drop the kids there. The next day we will fly to Utah for some hiking and way too much driving. My wife wants to the the whole state and then get back to the beach for the last two days. Yeah, I will be very tired upon returning home.

The plans are to see things and to take some good pictures. It is doubtful a tripod will be a part of the equation, though I will pack up the Nikon D7000 and Mac. There is a new backpack to try. It will be fun…yeah, that’s the ticket.

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Is Your Website Mobile Ready?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 21:  The 'QR Code Garden...
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 21: The ‘QR Code Garden’ at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show on May 21, 2012 in London, England. The prestigious gardening show opens to the general public on May 22, 2012 and features 14 show gardens which range from ‘New English’ design to modern topiary gardens. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

iPhones and Androids are great phones. The have all manner of Internet driven applications, including fully functional browsers. Users can visit websites and look at your content, albeit on a small screen. They pinch and expand and scroll to see your site. The site designed and created on large computer screens. The website that isn’t mobile ready and is not mobile aware. The site that annoys your customers. They leave. You lose sales.

You need to get your site mobile ready. You are losing customers to your competition that is mobile ready. More than half of the users who have a bad mobile experience with a business will not recommend them. Are you in a position to lose so many customers because you are not mobile ready? Get with the times and get your site mobile ready.

And there is more you can have in your adds. No doubt you have seen those funny images called QR codes. Those are easily scanned by modern phones and lead visitors to your website. Oh yeah, the same website that is not mobile ready. The same website that is annoying visitors and causing them to leave. The same website that is losing you money. Get mobile ready.

It is time to have your site overhauled to be mobile ready. It is time to get your own iPhone app, yes one that is yours and is in the iTunes store. It is time to take your business into the 21st century. Mobile ready website. Mobile ready customer experience. Mobile ready sales. The future is now. Get mobile ready.

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Declare Your Independence

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...
English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. Latviešu: Abrahams Linkolns, sešpadsmitais ASV prezidents. Српски / Srpski: Абрахам Линколн, шеснаести председник Сједињених Америчких Држава. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanksgiving is now known as “Turkey Day“. July 4th is more about sales, drinking, hot dogs and fireworks. Gone are the true meanings of these days. Gone is the remembering what was won in blood. Gone is the ideal of Individual Liberty.

Last week, the useful idiots cheered by Obamacare was declared legal. A declaration that is 100% against the Constitution and the ideals behind it. Obamacare cannot be tax. Tax bills are required to start in the House. This bill did not. Ergo, it is not legal.

In 1776, America declared its Independence from England. The Constitution did not become the binding document until 1787. America fought a second war of Independence during the years 1812 to 1814. George Washing, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln all fought against a central bank. Woodrow Wilson created the Fed. Liberty died that day.

America is now wholly owned by the central bank. She no longer controls her currency. She goes at the whim of the bankers.

Go ahead, light the fireworks. The celebration is meaningless. The Democrats and the Republicans both have sold America for Power and Tyranny. The Middle Class is in the sights. Once finally destroyed, the ruling class will finally have what they want: total control of the population. The useful idiots will not doubt cheer again.

See my passion. View the vlog.

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Don’t Tell Me What You Want!

maybe she is dreaming of better days? --- than...
maybe she is dreaming of better days? — thank you to my girlfriend for being such a patient model! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is heard all too often. I want a new house. I want to be debt free. I want a fancy car. I want to send my kids to a better school. All dreams. Not goals. All daydreams. All wants. No plan. No action. Just wants. Just weak wants. Ugh!

Don’t tell me what you want! I don’t want to hear what you want! Don’t tell me what you want to have or do or see or be or whatever. Wants are useless. Wants are worthless. Get rid of your wants. Drop them. They will only lead you to disappointment and despair.

Get Deeper!

Now, go for a desire. Not some pie-in-the-sky want. Go for what you deeply desire. Define every aspect of it. See it. Feel it. Smell it. Taste it. Now, are you ready to work for it?

If you are not willing to put everything you have into what you desire the most, it is a worthless desire to you. Move on. Find something else.

What are you willing to work for? What are you willing to work harder than you ever have in your life for? What will drive you to push until you have it?

Now that you have the desire, let’s talk.

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