While playing with the macro lens, I have spent plenty of time watching the insects in the back yard as they feed on the flowers. The butterflies are quite fascinating as they have a proboscis that they curl up when they are not using and then extend to extract the nectar from the flowers. As I was observing them at work, it occurred to me that the stills didn’t really give a good way of seeing what they are doing. Instead, I switched to video and filmed them as they fed on our lavender bushes. Here is some video of them busily getting fed!
There was an evening when the weather was awful and the NASA DC-8 was out on a mission. The forecast suggested things might get a bit clearer late in the afternoon and so, while the light was awful, I thought I might take a chance and head to Paine Field after work. The sky was dark and ominous but I was there so I might as well wait. As the Max 10 was first on approach, it was the one I would try out first. There was a hint of the sun starting to punch through the cloud and it did look okay.
Then, when the DC-8 showed up, the clouds parted. The backdrop was still and evil looking sky but the sun was on the plane as it came down the approach. I had thought of shooting video but, when I saw the light, I couldn’t resist shooting stills. The joy of modern cameras is the ability to switch rapidly from one to the other. I got video down the initial approach and then stills as it was close in. Then back to video once it was by me. This actually didn’t make for a bad video edit.
In a previous post, I showed the waterfalls at Granite Falls, north of us. At that time, the weather had been quite calm, and the falls were quite subdued. At that time, I had suggested I would go back later in the winter. We had a prolonged period of rain in the area, some of which was very heavy. Knowing this had come through, I figured a return trip was in order to see just how much the falls would be transformed. This was not a wasted effort!
Even as I got out of the car in the parking area up on the main road, I could hear the falls. The flow through them was unrecognizable from my previous time there. The water was the full width of the falls and was crashing across everything in its path. The force of the water was quite intimidating and, while I was quite safe where I was on the walkways, I shuddered to think what would happen to anyone getting caught up in this torrent.
Video was clearly the thing to experiment with on this visit. Sure, I was getting lots of shots. I was seeing whether longer shutter speeds would give a good impression of the motion or whether a slightly shorter exposure might actually be more effective. However, video is the tool that really allows someone to appreciate the intensity of the flow and the noise. Consequently, I edited together the footage below to give you an idea of what it was like.
As I looked upriver, I saw vehicles crossing the river and realized that the road I had come in on, continued across the river on a bridge. I had not noticed this on the previous visit so, once I had made my way back up to the road, I decided to check the bridge out. This is a country road so I wondered if there would be a safe way to walk across. Fortunately, there was a protected sidewalk on both sides of the bridge. It was quite a drop down to the river but the mist over the water and between the trees provided a lovely shot, so I was glad to have diverted that way even if I was a little uncomfortable that high up!
We had the roof of the porch flood a while back and I realized then that the leaf mulch had blocked it. When I saw it was filling up again, I knew what to do. That is not just remove the mulch. It is also to be ready to film it properly. Here is the start of the draining process along with the various belching noises the downspout makes, and the water covers the opening. It takes for ages to drain, and I couldn’t be bothered to film the whole thing.
I used to play with time lapses a fair bit. I would shoot a series of images and use LRTimelapse to process them. However, that software had a license agreement that meant, when they upgraded the software, they required you to update your license and the old version was deactivated. This was very annoying. I figured I would be able to keep using the old version but apparently not. I don’t do it that much to justify the cost and was disinclined to use that software after this experience.
My latest cameras have a time lapse function built into them which I had been meaning to try out. I had done this on my little M6 but not with the latest bodies. What to use them on, though. I figured an experiment doesn’t require me to be original in the subject. Just try it out and see how it works. Consequently, I thought melting ice would be good enough. My first effort was not successful. I hadn’t given it enough time to record the melting fully. Second was better but, while the timing was okay, I had focused on the ice cube when it started melting and it slid across the plate as it melted and out of frame. The mode on the camera sets focus and exposure on the first shot so this meant everything was well out of focus.
This is why you experiment with things. The last try worked pretty much as intended. (I should note that I did all of these in the evening, so the lighting didn’t change during the shoot.) I had a long enough time for the ice cube to almost fully melt, it didn’t move, and the lighting was fine. Watching the ice disappear and the cube gradually sink into the water that is progressively growing was rather fun. This isn’t some epic revelation of the nature of melting ice, but it did teach me about some functionality of the camera.
We visited Whatcom Falls a while back and, at the time, the water levels had been quite low. I had been thinking about heading back when the water would be flowing more but hadn’t got around to it. Then, Nancy and I were up in Bellingham for something else and, as we headed home, I make a quick detour to stop off at the falls. They are so close to the parking lot, you can really make a ten-minute stop if you want.
The water was definitely flowing strongly. The falls were flowing hard, and the water was also running through the spillway on the other side of the footbridge. I did go around the top of the falls to see the river flowing in and also take a look at the flow as it headed over the falls. It was very energetic, and I am glad to have taken the side trip. Here is some video of the falls.
This one is something I kept meaning to do on multiple occasions but never was ready when it occurred to me. Boiling a pan of water, I am always fixated on the patterns that show up as shadows on the bottom of the pan as the heat affects the water by differing amounts resulting in convection flows across the pan. This is the sort of thing that only oddballs like me find fascinating. I finally thought to have the camera close to hand when boiling some water and got some footage of the patterns as they swirled. I was quite pleasantly surprised that the lens didn’t steam up during this. No doubt Nancy looked at me with that puzzled expression that has appeared many times after decades of knowing me!
I’ve posted a few times about my experience with the drag racing at Pacific Raceway. One of the things that I particularly was fascinated by was the surface of the strip itself. I mentioned before the machines that they used for conditioning this surface to ensure that there was maximum traction between the tires and ground. Periodically, the staff would come on to the track to take samples and measurements to understand exactly how it was performing. What photos don’t show you, but video can, is just how anything on the surface would stick. Only when you heard people walking along the track could you get the sound of their shoes sticking to the ground. Here is a video to explain what I mean.
We came upon a few filming crews while we were in the Maasai Mara. There were professional photographers but more of the video teams. National Geographic had a crew out working and there were others filming too. You would sometimes find vehicles that were scouting crews for the filming. The thing I found funny was that they often had signs saying that they were filming crews and not to follow them. I might never have paid attention to them until I knew that they were filming crews and might well have good intel about where animals were!
Modified vehicles which allow the camera operator to sit outside the vehicle and shoot looked like just the sort of thing I would like to have. They weren’t always in use, though. I did see one operator sitting inside the vehicle with his feet up while checking stuff on his phone. Looking at the very pricey lenses attached to the camera rigs was almost as fun as looking at the animals. Nat Geo also had a vehicle with a gimbal mount out on the front of the vehicle. It would have been fun to see that in use!
One thing that occurred to me as I watched these teams at work was the volume of material that they would collect that would be culled down to make a TV show. Sure, this would be a vast amount of data to store and sort but how different this must be from the days of wet film. Those crews shooting things like the early Big Cat Diaries must have been carrying a ton of stock and then had to manage all of it through processing and cataloging. That must have been a very time consuming and expensive proposition.
Nice evenings during the summer mean balloon flights over Woodinville and the surrounding area. I was driving home one evening and, as I came up I-405, I could see a balloon that looked like it might be close to home. Rather than turn towards the house, I headed for one of the nearby fields that has been a landing zone for balloons before (and that have made it into posts on here). When I got there, the balloon was close but was tracking slightly west of the field so no way it was going to make it in. It was heading towards the town so I decided to drive towards the south side of the town to see where it might end up.
I was coming around the south side on the road that skirts the town and the traffic had come to a halt. This was because everyone was watching the balloon low overhead. I actually took a shot through the sunroof of the car as it came low over me. I looped around the roundabout but didn’t take the south exit because the crew seemed to be heading that way and I didn’t need to crowd things.
I went around to the next road and looked back across the fields as the balloon continued on its way. It wasn’t touching down so I guess the area was not ideal. I figured I might head a little further south and see if it came even further. I took the road to Redmond and pulled off at one of the field entrances. Sure enough, they were still drifting south but looked like they might finally be getting close to landing. I didn’t shoot much video, but I did get a little to emphasize the way the balloon was drifting through the trees. As I watched it, the ground crew pulled up and started honking at me. They were incredibly rude. As soon as I saw them arrive, I was getting out of the way. Not my fault that they were struggling to catch their balloon, but they behaved like everyone should just get out of their way. I did anyway but, if you are reading this balloon crew, don’t be assholes to bystanders if you are struggling to recover your balloon and its passengers.