In 2020 there was not Easter Sunrise Service, cancelled because of the lockdowns in response to the Wohan Flu. In 2021 we went to an outdoor service but not at sunrise. This year, things have progressed to something approximating how it was in the past. The sunrise service was at the regular 6:00 AM time and we had a breakfast afterward in the Upper Room. It was a wonderfully beautiful day (although Cathy was a bit cold when we first arrived). I had really missed this the last two years and it was great to be back. As usual, I took a few pictures, which I try to do unobtrusively toward the end of the service.
As mentioned in Sunday’s post, David, Darius, and Maggie drove up from New Mexico, arriving late Saturday evening. Cathy and I took the day off today and went up to Pennsylvania. David and Darius went to the Gettysburg Battlefield on their own. Cathy, Dorothy, Maggie, and I went to the farm first and put up some more screen on the porch. It’s two thirds done. I also took some measurements for replacement stair stringers for the front porch. A couple of them are well on their way to falling apart. After over 40 years exposed to the weather, I guess it’s no surprise. From there we went to Gettysburg. We started with the Pennsylvania monument, where the girls’ ancestor’s regiment is listed. Then to Devil’s Den followed by Little Round Top, where this photograph was taken. Then to Culp’s Hill, again, where the family was apparently represented in the actual battle. It was a beautiful day, very windy and cool, but quite lovely.
Cathy and I drove out to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware today. It was a nice drive on a fine, fall day. We were going to spend time with our friend, Maureen and her family after the loss of their mother. The funeral will be tomorrow. After we checked into out hotel we took a fairly quick drive to the beach, because it would be a shame to drive that far and not at least see the ocean. We were dressed in our nice clothes for the viewing but we walked out onto the sand and touched the water. Then I took a handful of photos and we were done.
Generally you can only see rainbows when the sun is relatively low in the sky. To reflect and refract such that the arc of the rainbow is 42 degrees from the line from the sun to the observer. So, when the sun is high in the sky, the rainbow will be below the horizon. Generally that means you can’t see the rainbow because there’s not enough rain between you and the background. Sometimes you’ll see a rainbow against a distant mountain, but I think this is the closest I’ve ever seen one. It’s between us and the trees across the street. It wasn’t obvious at first, but after looking for it a little while, it became visible and I got a few pictures before the rain moved on a bit further and it was gone.
The hour or so just after sunrise and just before sunset are among the prettiest times of day. The light isn’t always special but when it is, it’s very special. Even a neighborhood scene like this, looking up the street from our house can be beautiful with the late afternoon light on the tops of the trees, turning them a wonderful orange green. This photo doesn’t really capture it completely but if you’ve seen it, then maybe it will be enough to remind you of what it’s like.
In addition to the bird track picture, I thought I’d share this sunset picture from February 3. The color was all low in the sky, so had to be seen through the trees, but I think it’s a striking enough color that it’s worth posting. I’ve gone through all the pictures I’ve taken from late January through the first week of April and pulled out those I’m going to post and will try to post two or three a day until I’m caught up. I have more still on the camera that I haven’t processed yet, as well.
Long weekends are nice. Our company only started giving us Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off last year so it’s something we’re still getting used to, but of course we’ll take it. I slept in this morning until about 7:00 AM and then stayed in bed awake until I noticed the color in the sky. Considering our bedroom windows face west, that suggested there was some good color in the east, as well. So, I got up and grabbed my camera and went out front to get a few pictures before the color faded. This is actually a bit darker than it was, so not necessarily an accurate representation of what I was seeing, but it’s pretty.
After saying I was going to stop taking a photo a day, I actually went two more days taking pictures. After this one, there will be a gap before the next photo was taken. The timing was good, because I threw may back out on the morning of January 3 (writing this after the fact) and getting pictures every day this week would have been hard. So, we’ll end the streak of consecutive days at 10 years plus five days—three before I officially started and two after I officially ended. But as promised, photos will be posted when I do take them.
I love foggy mornings. I suppose if I had to drive in them I’d like them somewhat less. Otherwise, and definitely from the comfort of my yard, I like them pretty well. This photo was taken looking up the street through the large red oaks that were planted along the road when the neighborhood was first built in the late 1960s. I love the atmospheric feel of trees in fog. We don’t get it a lot but somewhat more in the winter than other times of year. Even then, it generally burns off pretty soon after the sun is up.
Who doesn’t love a sunset? I certainly do. They also come in handy when I haven’t taken any photos and it’s getting dark. I know I’ll have to find something indoors to photograph. But then when there is color in the western sky, it’s such an easy thing to get a picture of that I have to be really busy to pass up the opportunity. They seem to be popular, as well. Response on Instagram (where most people see the pictures posted here) is always strong for sunset pictures. They don’t quite compete with pictures of people, especially people who are popular, but the do a lot better than pictures of things around the house.
I love the colors at dusk. Even when the sky is clear and there’s no clouds for sunset colors to light up, the trees, particularly the trees in autumn, can be just as good a show. It’s hard to catch and I’m not sure I’ve caught it here as well as I’d like, but I think you get the idea. With leaves already turning orange and red, the addition of sunset colors only intensifies them. Even the grey and brown trunks of these oaks turn an autumn hue.
Cathy and I went for a walk in the neighborhood this evening. We took a different route today because the sun was going down and it looked like there would be a decent sunset. I wanted to be somewhere that I could see it so I could get a picture. As you can tell, that worked out well. We also ran into a friend, which was really nice. She and three kids were heading out to buy some fish for their fish tank and she stopped and we chatted a little while. I took a few pictures of the girls, as well and shared them with her.
Clouds. I can’t keep my eyes off them clouds in the sky. ‘Cause I know it won’t be long, won’t be long.
Song lyrics. Not my song, and yet, it’s a song I sometimes sing to myself as I watch the clouds rolling across the sky. It was a busy week and I’m happy for the weekend. And sitting out back and watching the clouds is a nice way to unwind. Of course, this song isn’t just about relaxing, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. The song, by Barry McGuire, is a reference to Matthew 26:64, Mark 14:62, and Luke 21:27–28 (“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”).
Sunset is getting earlier each evening now, as autumn marches on. Soon we’ll set out clocks back to real time and it will get dark even earlier. For now, I’m at least done work before it gets dark, but that will change. The clouds this evening promised a really nice sunset and we weren’t disappointed. This is from out back steps, looking between the trees and over the house behind ours. We could have a worse view, I have to admit. It’s good to remember that wherever you live, there are times when it’s as pretty as anywhere else on earth. Well, the sky can be, anyway.
It rained off and on yesterday but today it really came down. I don’t know that it’s the heaviest rain we’ve ever had but it was probably right up there. I went out onto the back patio under an umbrella and took a few pictures. When it rains hard, we get these streams across our back yard and between our house and the next door neighbors. That’s good, of course, because it means the water is flowing past the house and not into it. Generally, in heavy rains, it looks about like this. Later in the day it was three or four times that width. So, more than we’ve seen in a long time. Our trash can had a good six inches of water in it. Not to say we got six inches of rain (the trash can isn’t a calibrated rain gauge) but it was a lot, anyway.
It rained pretty hard last night and continued raining today. We can usually judge how hard it’s raining by the streams across our back and side yard and this rain was relatively hard. There were tornado warnings but the wind was never really all that strong here. There was a lot of lightning, though, and at one point the rumble of thunder continued almost continuously. The storm was moving fairly fast and as it moved out, the sun came out and we got another rainbow, which is always a treat.
I took a few pictures of skippers in the yard today and a couple of them turned out pretty nicely but then as the sun was going down, there was a really nice sunset. I can’t say I’ll always pick a sunset picture over any other but they are generally pretty well liked and they are, of course, quite beautiful. Not as nice as actually seeing the sunset, obviously, but we’ve all seen them enough that a photograph can really evoke the feeling you get when you see it for real. This one is looking northwest over our next door neighbors’ yard and most of the sky was clear, so I used my long lens to get just the area with brilliant colors.
I had gone out to take a few pictures of the clouds, which were pretty dramatic. Then I went inside and was reading as it started to rain. A little later, Dorothy called me to come back outside because there was a really nice rainbow. It was down against the trees, coming right down to the ground. I got a few pictures of that and then walked out into the rain where I could get a view of the rainbow against the sky. It’s more traditional and I considered posting one of the ground level photos here, but frankly, this one is better, so…
We took dinner to a friend this evening, after learning that her nephew had passed away. It was so good to see her and although it was a sad occasion, it’s always good to see old friends. And we do go back a ways with this one, who was in our wedding almost 36 years ago. On the way home there was a lovely sunset going on behind us. As we got off the Inter-County Connector (a.k.a. MD 200) I decided to stop at the commuter parking lot and see if I could get a picture or two. When it was first built, the hill next to the lot was nearly ideal. Now, however, the trees that have grown up on it are starting to block the view enough that I had a much harder time getting a clear view of the clouds, which were fairly low in the sky.
We’ve done well in terms of sunsets lately. Here is the third in a week. I don’t know, honestly, if they actually come in bunches or I simply happen to notice them in bunches. Either way, I’m happy to have them whenever we do. This one was really nice, with parts of the sky a mix of deep blue with a thin layer of magenta/orange over it. Hard to describe and hard to photograph. This shot was taken to the northwest and I like it quite a bit. Just above the orange band at the top, the sky was a more uniform color. I took a few with my wide angle lens but the orange colors in this part were a bit washed out.
We had another lovely sunset this evening. This shot is from out back yard, looking northwest. Looking due west we mostly have trees, so the best we can do is either northwest or southwest. They were both nice this evening but northwest was better, I think. There was also a bright orange/magenta streak almost directly overhead. I’m not sure if it was the remains of a contrail, but it really didn’t look like it. I got a few pictures of that, as well.
On other matters, we drove to West Springfield this afternoon to have an outdoor supper with a dear friend. It was so good to see another person in real, 3D life.
Cathy and I took a walk in the neighborhood after dinner. Thunder was rumbling as we left the house and we didn’t know if we’d get rained on before we were home again but we decided to risk it. We were glad we did. Not only did we not get rained on but we were treated to some wonderful clouds. They ranged from blue grey to bright orange and a few were the purest white. It was quite lovely. We also saw rain but it was probably a mile or so away. The thunder continued to rumble, but it was blue overhead.
Cathy and I went for a relatively short walk in the neighborhood this evening and I took some photos on that as well as in the yard a bit earlier in the day. But then the sunset was so nice, I figured I should post that. There haven’t been many great sunsets lately. They seem to come in bunches. I’m rarely going to pass up a sunset if it can be helped. Sometimes I’m driving and it really isn’t convenient to stop or there’s no place with a good view, but when it’s a matter of walking out the back door and looking between the trees, I’m there.
Cathy and I took a walk this evening and enjoyed an occasional view of the sky. Our neighborhood has well established trees, having been built up about 50 years ago. Different parts of the neighborhood have different street trees and some of them have lasted better than others. Many of the original red oaks (Quercus rubra) are gone, while others are very healthy. The willow oaks (Quercus phellos) are more uniformly healthy and generally quite large. There’s one street I call the cathedral because of how the willow oaks form a Gothic nave over the road. The maples (mostly red maples, Acer rubrum) are at the other end of the spectrum. Some are fine but most are less healthy or have been removed. There are sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) scattered around and they are generally healthy, as well. Anyway, the link between the trees and this photo is that the trees mean that most of the time while walking we don’t get an uninterrupted view of the sky.
Yesterday we dropped my car off at the shop. It was there overnight so Cathy and I went to work together again this morning. She had a physical therapy appointment first thing, so I got an hour of time to spend reading that I would not normally have had. I finished Tristram Shandy today, which I enjoyed more as I got further into it. It won’t be on my “best books of all time” list but it was fine. Our mechanics looked the car over and instead of having to replace the sensor for the airbags, they only had to replace some wires, which had worn through. They had to take out the driver seat, so there was a fair amount of labor involved, but it was about half what the Honda dealer said it would. And, they said my breaks were fine and didn’t need the $700 of work the Honda dealer said I needed done. We picked the car up after work and got home just in time for this pretty, if less than spectacular sunset.
Cathy and I came to work together this morning, dropping my car off at the shop for a bit of work. The air-bag warning light is on and we need to know what that’s about. The Honda dealer said they needed to replace the sensor. They also said the rear brakes were in desperate need of work. This was when I had it at the dealer for work based on a recall notice. Since dealerships are generally more expensive than your average, independent repair shop, I figured I’d get a second opinion. Anyway, after work I met Cathy where she had parked and had a couple minutes to photograph the sky. The clouds were collecting like there would be a nice sunset but it never really materialized. The sun went down, the clouds turned from white to grey with only a hint of color. You can’t win them all.
It was a cool, late winter day today. I was doing some work around the house that included carrying boxes to the car, so I was dressed more lightly that the actual outdoor temperature called for. It was fine while I was working but if I had needed to be out for too long in a t-shirt, I would have been less happy. In the evening we went to Olney to have dinner at Panera. Needless to say, not having long sleeve shirt on got me noticed a few times. I’m glad I brought my camera with me, as there was a really nice sunset and I was able to go out and take pictures a few times through the course of it. This was the last one I took, when most of the sky had gone very dark.
There was a nice sunset this evening. The number of clouds was pretty low and unfortunately they clouds that were there were pretty low in the sky. Almost all of them were below and behind trees. At least that’s where they were from out back yard. I’ve had some really nice sunset from there but this one I had to work just to get this little bit of color.
It’s gotten cold out and I went out in my stocking feet to get this because I was afraid I’d miss it if I took the time to put my shoes on. I think that was the right decision, as the color only lasted a few minutes. I could still see some color through the trees for a while longer but that would have been less even than this one. I think one thing I like so much about sunsets is the depth of color. The blue of the sky at dusk is much richer and more vibrant than during the day. Of course the color in the clouds is also different, which is what makes a sunset special. But the blue of the sky at dusk, turning to the black of night, is just about my favorite color in the world.
After yesterday’s long walk in the park we decided on a shorter walk this afternoon, sticking to neighborhood streets. I took some pictures of sycamore trees (Platanus occidentalis) against the blue sky. I also took some of Lenten rose plants (Helleborus species) in someone’s front garden. They were further along than most of ours, although we have one that’s got quite a few flowers on it. As the sun set, I took various pictures of it with differing amounts of color. None of them were spectacular but even a mediocre sunset is a beautiful thing.
I happened to be down at Suburban Hospital this evening to visit a friend who was there for a procedure this morning. When I arrived, I drove to the top of the parking garage so I could get some photos of the sun that was in process of setting. There was no way to get an unobstructed view of the most colorful part of the sunset. To move to my right, I could have needed to climb up on a six foot wall but then there’s have been nothing between me and a three storey drop and I wasn’t really interested in that. This one turned out pretty well, anyway. I happy to say my friend was doing well and we had a really nice time chatting.
After I got home and was reading, Cathy called to say there was a really pretty sunset. Her office is on the fourth floor and faces northwest so she gets a pretty good view in the evening. From our back yard most of the color was low in the sky. To the southwest there was some color through the trees. To the northwest the colors were better but again, were visible only through our neighbor’s trees. I took a dozen or so photos and this is the best of them. Not a great sunset but it’s a sunset.
This is what I saw in my rear-view mirror on the way home today. The clouds were only near the horizon and if I had waited until I was home to take any pictures, I wouldn’t have been able to see them, as that part of the sky is obstructed. That’s assuming there was any color left, which is unlikely, especially since I stopped at the grocery store before continuing on home. Fortunately there is a nice, wide shoulder on the road where I stopped, so it was easy and relatively safe to get this picture. Traffic was moving quite slowly, in any case. You can see the power lines along the trees at the left. The tops of cars in the lower right show you I was looking down the roadway.
It was a lovely but chilly day today and Cathy and I decided to take an outing to Blockhouse Point on the Potomac between Pennyfield Lock downstream and Violettes Lock just below Seneca Creek at the C&O Canal Dam. Dorothy met us there and we had a nice walk in the woods out to the point. The sun was setting as we got to the point above the river and the tops of the trees on the Virginia site were beautifully lit by the setting sun. This shot, though the trees, was taken from the high ground of Blockhouse Point and if we stayed ten or fifteen minutes longer, it would have been dark by the time we got back to our cars. It was a really nice walk and one we’ll want to repeat in the spring and when we have more time before sunset.
After yesterday’s snowfall, today promised to be quite nice. Cool but clear. There were still some clouds when we left for work today but between them, the sun was shining and making all the show quite dazzling this morning. I really like snow on branches and took quite a few photos this morning before we left for work. As mentioned yesterday, local schools were on a two hour delay so we didn’t have any problems with traffic. The roads were all clear and mostly dry, although it’s my understanding that in the northern and western parts of the county it was a bit icier. This wasn’t the sort of snow storm that paralyzes the region. We still have plenty of time this winter for something like that, though.
It started snowing late this morning and it came down fairly hard the rest of the day. Cathy and I had come to work together and she had some things that needed to be done, so we didn’t leave until about 5:30. Because of the snow, most people had left early and there really wasn’t much traffic on the roads, which was nice. It’s been warm enough that the road surface wasn’t too bad, anyway. This was taken as I waited outside Cathy’s building to pick her up. We probably got an inch of snow on grassy areas, but it didn’t really have a big impact on us. Local schools are opening two hours late tomorrow, which means we shouldn’t have any trouble getting in, either, which is nice.
I went over to mom’s after work today and the sun had just gone down when I got there. The sky was clear but near the horizon the color changed from pale, grey-blue over head through magenta to a nearly purple blue at the horizon. This photograph doesn’t capture it perfectly but it’s as good as I could get. I really like color transitions in nature. I think perhaps my favorite is the deep blue to nearly black of a perfectly clear sky, but this one is pretty nice, too. The fact that the two ends of the transition are blue but the middle is so very different makes it pretty interesting.
As dusk this evening there were no clouds to the west and absolutely no color in the sky except a pale blue, fading to grey. In the northeast, however, through the trees across the street, there were some low clouds that were touched with color. That’s what this picture captured. It only lasted a few minutes but I was fortunate enough to see it and have my camera handy. It was a nice, quiet day and we spent about an hour in the used bookstore, which we both enjoy. Not that we really need more books, of course, but there you are.
As 2019 draws to a close, I’ll give you one final sunset for the year. It’s been a year with all sorts of ups, downs, and adjustments. I guess the two biggest things to report are that Dorothy graduated from college and went to live in Alaska for five months. We really enjoyed our trip to Juneau to see her and that was probably the highlight of the year for us. We also enjoyed seeing her senior art show two weeks before graduation, although that was a bit more whirlwind.
This photo finishes nine years of taking at least one photo a day. Will I continue? Probably, but you never know. Thanks for the very few of you who actually read these posts rather than seeing just the photographs on Instagram. God bless you.
On the way home this evening, the sky in my rear view mirror was quite lovely. I thought about stopping a few times but there wasn’t really a good place to get a view of the sunset. The light was shining on the bare branches of the Zelkova trees on Norbeck and I also considered stopping to get a photo of that (but didn’t). When I got home, much of the color had left the sky or was too low to see clearly through the trees and between the houses. Nevertheless, I took a few photos before the color disappeared completely.
We happened to be down in Bethesda this afternoon and we went to a few different stores. We started at American Plant Food, which is an interesting combination of plants and “decor”. I put that in scare quotes because I’m a bit scared by their idea of decor but I guess it’s what some folks want, or they’d carry something else. I really enjoyed their small but impressive houseplant section, particularly their orchids, which are beautiful. We went to a toy store and spent some time there but didn’t buy anything. Finally we went to Whole Foods were we only bought a few things. I used to shop there from time to time because I could get proper, dry-cured bacon but they don’t carry any cured bacon any more, so I have no real reason to go. As we came out, the color in the sky was amazing. We figured there wouldn’t be time to drive anywhere with a better view and in fact, in the sort time it took me to get the camera and walk about 40 yards, most of the color was gone from the sky. So, it’s still a sunset but not what I was hoping for.
As the sun was sinking in the western sky I went out to take a few pictures. I took some through the trees by the parking lot but as the clouds got more brightly colored, I walked through the woods and onto the median of the road so I could take some without trees in the way. It just kept getting better and better and I’m really glad I took the trouble. I only took one lens with me, a mid-range zoom that I forgot I have and which I put into my bag last week. I think I remember why I stopped using it. The pictures at the longer end of the zoom range are really soft (and maybe that’s too king a description). Next time I carry my more reliable glass. But this photo turned out well enough.
It’s been quite a few years since I worked on the day after Thanksgiving. One more thing I’m thankful for is that I’m not in retail and don’t have to work on the day after or even on Thanksgiving itself, as many people do. I would be happy to have all businesses including retail closed from the Thursday of Thanksgiving through the following Sunday, but that’s just not going to happen. There are some who enjoy the ‘thrill’ of shopping on so-called Black Friday, but I’m not one of them. Of course, I’d prefer to stay away from stores between Thanksgiving and Christmas entirely if I had that option. I do my best. I actually worked about five hours today and was fairly productive. I was glad to see a pretty sunrise shortly after getting up, and that’s today’s photo.
As I came out of my office this evening, the clouds in the darkening western sky was back lit with areas of brighter light. All that was behind the trees that line my parking lot. It had a somber and even sinister look and I decided I’d take a few pictures. The exposure was a bit tricky and I didn’t have a tripod, but I braces the camera on a tree and it turned out well enough. It was a mood and I think I captured it pretty well. The parking lot was pretty empty by the time I left work. It’s Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, and somber and sinister really doesn’t go well with that. Nevertheless, it’s how I was feeling when I left work. I’m not sure what that means.
The sun was going down as I left work today and I wanted to get at least one photo of the colors in the sky. I found a place where I could see them, but it’s a little more industrial that I generally look for. Still, it’s not terrible. This is actually looking to the southeast, not the west, where there wasn’t actually a lot of color to be had. I stopped again a little further on and the foreground was better but there was less color at that point, so this is the best I got.
As I was driving home today, the sun was setting in my rear view mirror, as it does these days. At one point, I had had enough and pulled onto a side street so I could get out and take some pictures. As you can see, I’m along a road and there are power lines on the left but they don’t really distract from the main event. I didn’t notice at the time but I see now that what I assume is Venus, the evening star, shows up on the left side of the photo.
Our ten day journey to Alaska, like all good things, came to an end today. We were very sad to be leaving and of course were not very excited about getting up at 3:00 AM to get to the airport for our 5:00 AM flight, but it meant we’d get home during the day instead of the middle of the night. We had a great time and would happily have stayed for another week or even two. Of course not having to go to work is part of it. Anywhere on vacation is generally better than anywhere else with work. The weather was about what we expected, cool and damp, but we came prepared (and Dorothy gave me a really nice rain hat as an early birthday present). That meant we got out regardless of the weather and enjoyed pretty much every minute of it.
The trip home was relatively uneventful, which is sort of what you want when flying. There’s not much better than a sunrise or sunset from the air and we got a pretty good one as we headed south to Seattle, on the left side of the plane. Someone who knows the area might be able to recognize the coast line seen through the clouds in this first photo. The second, taken about ten minutes after the first, is possibly Mount Baker, but again, I don’t really know the area, so I’d be happy to be corrected. Much of the country from eastern Washington until we neared Maryland was covered with clouds, so there wasn’t much to see. We did recognize some landmarks as we made our descent into Dulles. And thus ends Alaska Trip, 2019.
As mentioned in my earlier post for today, it was a busy day. In the afternoon we went for a walk with Brian and Lisa around the airport. It’s a pretty place and it’s not like the busy airports we’re used to from the DC area with planes taking off and landing one after the next all day. It’s a relatively quiet place except for the occasional plane and we had a nice time outdoors. If you need a reason to go to Juneau, here’s one. It’s beautiful regardless of the weather. The clouds were high enough today that we could see the mountains pretty well. We didn’t have a clear day the entire ten days we were there but if you need clear skies to enjoy a place, then maybe it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The airport walk is an easy one, with virtually no hills to deal with. Very nice for a mid-afternoon walk. Highly recommended.
As mentioned in my previous post, it started raining as we returned to our car at the Eagle River trail near the Boy Scout Camp. It rained fairly hard but as we approached the Mendenhall River the sun came out and there was a rainbow to our left. We stopped at Brotherhood Bridge, where there’s a pretty decent view of the glacier and we had it framed by the rainbow. Rainbows can be tricky to photograph because the colors are fairly faint relative to other things in the photograph. Slight underexposure can help but that tends to make the rest of the shot dark. Anyway, This one turned out pretty well. At a different time of year, this photo would benefit from fireweed in the foreground, but the autumnal colors aren’t bad, either.
As I mentioned, it’s begun to feel like autumn. Today was very windy and cool. After work I walked down to Lake Frank and took a few photos. The trees are just starting to turn and it was lovely to be out in the fresh, cool air. This photo was taken from the dam looking northwest along the length of the lake. It’s a three-exposure, high-dynamic-range (HDR) photo and I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out. There were a few others out walking, mostly wearing coats and hats against the suddenly cool weather. I was in my shirt sleeves, although I did roll them down while I was out on the dam, where the wind was strongest.
I looked around for something to photograph this evening and settled on a flour canister. It’s made of brushed metal (probably aluminum) and has the word FLOUR in a nice, mid-century modern font running vertically down it. I took ot out onto the patio and got some nice photos.
Relaxing on the patio after that, I watched the western sky begin to color and I realized I wasn’t going to use my flour canister photo today. I had to move around the yard to get a good angle between the trees, but I think you’ll agree it was worth it.
When I left work today, I drove through a little rain. By the time I was nearly home and I stopped at the grocery story, the sky was partly cloudy. When I came back out from the store the sky was turning very dark and shortly after I got home and had unloaded the groceries, it started coming down quite hard. It only rained for about fifteen minutes and then the sun was back out again. I went out front and found a spot where I could see the rainbow. It was a bit early in the evening for a really good bow, but there was some down low in the sky. They are often tricky to photograph and this one was not as strong as many I’ve seen but it was pretty and I especially like the fact that this photo shows the rainbow against blue sky, which is pretty unusual.
We had a pretty nice sunset this evening and I took a few pictures (aren’t you surprised?). Most of the best color was behind the trees to the south of our yard, so it was hard to capture. To the east there was some good color and I was able to get some nice pictures in that direction. To the west, most of the clouds were various shades of grey. There were a few low clouds that would light up and then go back to grey. I hoped to time the photo so that I could get both the moon and the lit clouds but they basically alternated. When the moon wasn’t behind the cloud, the color was mostly gone. Then the color would return just as the clouds covered the moon. This one has a little color in the clouds, anyway.
As we were leaving Shady Grove Hospital this evening there was a really nice sunset. We were parked near the top of the garage, so it made sense to go to the top floor to get a good view of the clouds. The photographs don’t really do it justice, but the best part of the view was the sun itself, which was a deep, orange-red as it neared the horizon. It really was spectacular. The rest of the sky was covered with pale orange and I took some wide angle shots, as well, but I like this one, that shows the sun a bit better.
As our week at the beach came to an end, Brian from next door came over to let me know there was a nice sunset and that I should come out with my camera. There was this single cloud, far out to sea, lit by the setting sun, surrounded by the blue of the ocean, the sky, and the other clouds. I’m pretty happy with this picture as a relaxing reminder of a mostly relaxing week. Being with family for a week, it’s inevitable that there will be little things but for the most part, it was very nice and that’s how I’m going to remember it. The cottage we were in this year was good, in terms of layout, giving us the space we needed to spread out. Having the pool was a bonus and more enjoyable that I would have expected. It was shared with the three connected units, but that hardly mattered. One of those units was our cousins and it was nice being so close to them. If nothing else, it meant they could stick their head in our door and let us know about sunsets (and, as it turned out tomorrow morning, leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) hatching at the end of our path to the beach).
Today was the first day this week I went out to take pictures of the sunrise. I thought about it two other days but didn’t go out. There are often nice sunrises here but I simply didn’t feel like it. Today I did and was rewarded with some nice pictures. When I first went out it was very blue. The clouds and the ocean were various shades ranging from pale to dark. Eventually, the sun actually rose and a fair amount of orange was added to the sky and the reflection of the sky in the water. This photo doesn’t really show much of the blue.
Generally you look west in the evening to see the sunset and the best colors are often in that direction. This evening the best view was to the east, as seen here. Although we’re on the eastern coast of North America, the coastline runs almost due east-west right here. So, rather than the sun rising over the ocean and setting over land, it rises to the left on the beach and sets to the right. Although I took a lot of pictures, mostly what I was doing was enjoying the reflections of the light as each wave receded, leaving a very flat, highly reflective surface on the lower beach.
We had a pretty sunset this evening. there was not a huge amount of color but on the horizon it was very nice and I thought it looked especially good through the dune grass growing between our cottage and the beach. We had a nice day with a very calm ocean for swimming. I’m a fan of body surfing and although it was quite calm, there were occasional waves that were good for riding. Cathy prefers using a boogie board, which is fine, but I like the feel of the water.
We had a nice sunset this evening. It’s become summer with highs in the 90s this week and doesn’t promise anything nicer for a while. There will be thunderstorms, I’m sure and we actually could use some rain. A good, day-long soaking rain would not be unappreciated, but we’re unlikely to get that any time soon. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the sunset this evening, which progressed from mild coloring in a few wispy clouds to this deep colored sky to the northwest just before it got dark.
We don’t get hail all that often. When we do, the hail is generally small and the storm is generally brief. In today’s storm the hail was pretty large at first, with hail at least a half inch across and some more like three quarters or more. That didn’t last long and then the hail was more pea size, which is what you can see in this photo. That lasted a bit longer and then it was just rain after that, really coming down for a while. I enjoy storms, particularly since we live in relative safety and comfort. I wouldn’t have liked being out in this, though.
We got up early and made our way to Bethesda for the Easter Sunrise Service this morning. The date for Easter is based on a lunar calendar, so it moves between March 21 and April 25 (in the Western, Gregorian, calendar). This year it fell on April 21, putting it towards the end of that period. Consequently, it was light enough at the 6:00, just before the service started, for me to get a few photographs. Last year, when it was 20 days earlier, it was still pretty dark at that point and a picture similar to this was taken over half way through the service. I really enjoy this tradition and also the music at the regular service, with brass and timpani adding a strong accent.
At a few minutes before 9:30 this evening Cathy’s phone let out that now familiar sound of an alert (I have alerts turned off on my phone). She read the alert, which said there was a tornado warning for our area. I pulled up the National Weather Service page and read the alert, which was a little less alarming than the alert that come on the phone. Tornadoes are nothing to be trifled with, even here in Maryland, where they are the 98 pound weaklings of the tornado world. Nevertheless, I got my camera and looked outside. It was raining but not hard and the air was pretty still. I took a few pictures by the light of the street lamps and that was about it. The storm system, which had shown signs of tornadic activity and rotation about four miles to the southeast, was moving very fast. By 9:50 NWS radar showed the storm over northern Delaware something like 80 miles away.
I’ve already posted a picture for this date but kind of like this one, so I’ll post it, too. This is the view out of my office window. I was at work later than usual today and the light on the clouds was quite dramatic. I took a few “standard” shots but the sky was so bright the trees went very dark. I took a set of three, exposure-bracketted images and combined them as a single HDR image. It’s a bit unnatural looking but I like it.
When I got home this evening I took some pictures of flowers in the garden, figuring I’d continue with my flower theme. Later, though, shortly after Cathy got home, we were out back and it was clear that the sunset was going to be worth enjoying. So, I got my camera and watched it unfold. First I got some pictures of grey and white clouds with deep blue sky behind them. As the sun sank the clouds turned beautiful colors. They were moving quite quickly and between the movement of the sun (or the apparent movement, I should say) and the very real movement of the clouds, it was changing from moment to moment. I’ll probably get back to flower pictures tomorrow.
The sky had the promise of a really spectacular sunset this evening but sadly it didn’t follow through. It wasn’t a bad sunset, mind you, but it wasn’t as fabulous as I had hoped. The clouds were moving fast and it was changing from minute to minute. As you can see in the lower part of this picture, between the houses, the best part of the sunset was too low to be seen from our back yard. Still, it was a worth a few minutes of my time and the ground wasn’t so cold that I couldn’t be out in my bare feet for a little while.
Yesterday we had almost 2 inches of rain but it was sunny this morning. Then, a little before 4:00 PM, it got very dark and we had a serious downpour. The storm raged for about 15 minutes and then withing a half an hour the sky was clear and solid blue again. I took this picture towards the end of the rain, focusing on the water on my office window, looking out towards the big trees on the edge of the parking lot. I was glad not to have been caught out in it. It really came down hard. The forecast for the weekend is nice, however. We can still have some cold and even the possibility of snow, but spring it definitely upon us.
Cathy and I worked most of the day moving things around in our house. One room that has become a catch-all for boxes and miscellaneous bric-a-brac is our guest bedroom. However, Cathy’s cousin and his wife are coming this week so we sort of need to clear it out. It’s high time we did, so that’s fine. We were able to get rid of a few things, mostly things that were not worth even donating, but mostly we just organized and moved things around. The more thorough going through is yet to be done. I did go out briefly to take four boxes of books as a donation for resale and got rid of a half dozen empty boxes that we no longer need. In the afternoon I took some pictures in the yard but none of them are anything to write home about. The moon was pretty, though, so I thought I’d post that for today’s picture.
I happened to notice the color coming in the front windows this morning so I grabbed my camera and went out front to get a few pictures. There’s not a good, unobstructed view to the east without walking a little ways and since it was only aboutg 25°F (-4°C) and I was barefoot, I wasn’t going to go too far or stay out too long. I did walk onto the lawn, which has been wet and which is now nicely frozen. That’s somehow colder than the ramp or the pavement of the driveway. It was certainly worth going out for, especially seeing as how I was up. The color only lasted about ten minutes and it was gone. Another ephemeral sunrise.
It was a relatively uneventful day today. I got some things done that have been hanging over me for quite a long time. Well, to be more precise, I got started on some things that have been hanging over me for quite a long time, but that’s a big step to getting them finished. There was a team of men working on cutting a tree down in the neighborhood and I took some pictures of that but then we had a pretty nice sunset, so this picture took precedence. It’s wasn’t a stunning sunset but it was very pretty, I think.
I found a new location for sunset photos today. It’s a little off my actual commute but not so much that it’s a real problem and I expect to be there again in the future. The sunset this evening was unusual, with both orange low in the sky (through the trees) and the bands of magenta a little further up, where the clouds were more dense. It was also more fleeting then usual. I took a total of eight photos and between the first and the last, less than two minutes, the magenta lines almost entirely disappeared. I’m glad I stopped when I did.
We got about six inches from late Saturday until midday Sunday. At that point I shoveled the walk and driveway and the picture from yesterday was taken about that time. Then it started snowing and was still coming down until about 11:00 PM. This morning we got up at about 5:30 and Dorothy planned to leave at 6:00 to drive back to school. There was an additional six to eight inches on the sidewalk ramp, so we got between 12 and 14 inches, I’d say. I got everything shoveled and the snow off of Dorothy’s car. In the end she waited until the sun had come up and left at about 8:00. Happily there was not much snow to our north and she had no problems getting back to Massachusetts. The sun came out later in the morning and it was quite beautiful out.
We had our first real snow of 2019 starting early yesterday afternoon. It showed a bit earlier in the week but didn’t accumulate at all. This time we ended up with about six inches on the ground this morning. It was a few degrees below freezing and the snow was quite pretty, although it was fairly heavy when I shoveled it off of the walk and driveway. This is a view up into the trees in our neighborhood and I really love the lines of dark bark and the white snow. We were out yesterday evening driving in it, which wasn’t a lot of fun, but it meant that we got to see our good friend, Karlee, so it was well worth it. Today we’re pretty much sticking around the house. Hopefully the roads will be clear by tomorrow, when Dorothy plans to leave for school. There wasn’t much snow north of here, so the majority of her trip shouldn’t be affected, in any case.
As I was driving home this evening, I could occasionally see the clouds to the west starting to be lit up by the setting sun. There are very few places on my relatively short commute with a clear, unobstructed view of the sky. Unless the clouds are high in the sky it’s not really worth stopping to take a picture. When I got to Norbeck Road, though, with the sunset in my rear view mirror, I stopped and took a dozen or so pictures. By the time I got home, it was done, so I’m glad I stopped when I did. I love the orange flare coming up the middle of this photograph.
As I was driving home this evening the clouds were acting like there would be a wonderful sunset. By the time I actually got home, most of the color was gone, although there had never been nearly as much as there could have been. Nevertheless, I got my camera out and went into the back yard. This photo is looking basically southwards and I am pretty pleased with it. The colors are pretty accurate to what it looked like, with a lot of blue in the clouds themselves and three slashes of orange. I really enjoyed watching it until the orange disappeared and only the blue-grey clouds were left.
Dorothy got home late last night. Well, technically she got home early this morning, at about 1:30 AM. She slept in today and I went to work. Before I left work it rained very hard and my car is having problems when I drive through deep puddles, so I had to be careful getting home. After I did get home, we went out to run some errands and as we left the house, this storm cloud was billowing up above us. The photo, taken at 1/25 second at f/2.8 at an ISO of 6,400, doesn’t really do it justice, but it’s the picture I have for today. You’ll have to trust me when I say it looked really cool in real life. The noise produced by the camera sensor wasn’t something we saw in real time.
I went over to my mom’s this evening to see what was wrong with her computer. When I got there, I took a little time before going in to take some sunset pictures. I had a hard time finding a good spot to see the sky, but this spot worked out reasonably well, overlooking a shopping mall. It’s in the foreground, hidden by the dark trees, though, so that doesn’t really matter, so you can’t really tell. The color was mostly along the lower part of the sky and I took some pictures with the short telephoto lens and others with the 24mm, which on my camera is equivalent to a 35mm, more or less. This is one from the wide angle.
Another sunset photo today. I’ve been leaving work around the sunset hour lately (or later but getting sunset pictures from my office or from a conference room one floor up. There isn’t anything particularly special about this sunset but it’s the best of the few pictures I took today. I’m nearing 2,900 consecutive days (and 8 yeas) taking at least one photograph each day. I think one or possibly two of those days the photo was taken on my phone but the rest were taken on my Canon SLR. In that time I have taken over 160,000 photos, which is starting to get up there. A few of them are, I think, quite good.
There was another nice sunset this evening. I had a little more time today so I was able to walk around the woods behind my building to an area with a somewhat lower horizon. There are still trees but they are several hundred yards away this time. This was just a portion of the sky, taken with a 100mm lens. It was quite impressive for a significant horizontal extent although it didn’t reach all that high in the sky. A wide angle shot would have been mostly dark above and below this. I hope you (not that there are very many of you) don’t mind all the sunsets but we’re getting what we get.
I was hoping for another nice sunset this evening but it wasn’t to be. The clouds did get a bit of color but nothing like two nights ago and in fact, if I had taken any other pictures today, you probably wouldn’t be stuck with this. We need to be thankful, of course, for the lesser beauties, as well as the greater. As something short of even a lesser beauty, myself, I have an appreciation for the ordinary.
When we were in Rome, quite a few years ago now, we went into St. Peter’s Basilica. As you’d expect, everyone loves the big, central dome. It’s very impressive. But we decided we needed to enjoy the lesser domes. It’s become a saying in our family, “Nobody appreciates the little domes.” We make an effort to appreciate them.
Cathy and I went to work together today because the van was in the shop, having lost its serpentine belt in the rain on Saturday. Cathy likes to go to an exercise class on Mondays so we stayed for that. Before her class, however, at about 4:45, she called to ask if I could see the sunset. My office window faces north but I could see color out to the left. I took a few pictures from there and then went to the large conference room on the west side of the building on the next floor up and took some pictures from there. The color ws through the trees but it was really different to any sunset I’ve seen, as least anything in recent memory. To say is was spectacular is too simple. Also, this photo doesn’t really convey the overall feel, which was somewhat eerie. Donna, who works near the conference room asked if I had been outside. She said something strange seemed to be going on. I said, “It’s sunset, it happens every evening around this time.” But I was joking, this really was a strange sunset, and beautiful.
I’m afraid today’s photo is pretty lame. I looked out the back door and there were two bright airplane contrails just above the trees, heading west toward the setting sun as the sky darkened with dusk. I thought it would make a half decent photo for today. Unfortunately, by the time I got my camera from the next room, switched to the 100mm from the 24mm and returned ti the kitchen door, the planes were down into the trees. It wasn’t ever going to be a great photo but I think it’s worse than I hoped. So, the only thing accomplished by taking this is that I kept up my photo-a-day streak. For what little that’s worth.
I stopped at Trader Joe’s briefly after work. There are a few things that they have that make it worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood, although I can’t say I’d go far out of my way in general. I usually leave underwhelmed, although a good friend (who I’m pretty sure will be reading this) works there and I mean no disrespect. It’s just that most of what they have I can get elsewhere more easily. After that I stopped at Great Wall, in Rockville. This store has a lot more that’s hard to find in “standard” grocery stores and I was there mostly for produce, which is generally good there and there’s a lot more variety than even Safeway or Giant, to say nothing of Trader Joe’s (and I needed beets). As I came out, I took this picture of the sunset over the back of the building.
One thing about this time of year is that I’m leaving work around the time the sun sets. That’s not all bad, as I sometimes get to see a colorful sunset. Today I left in time to see some color through the trees behind my building. There was no time to get anywhere without trees in the way so I photographed through the trees. I don’t think they ruin this sunset at all. In fact, it was lovely. We have a little more than a month of shortening days so it will be more than two months before they are as long as they are now again. That makes it harder to get photos during the daytime, especially during the week. It’s been quite busy at work and it shows no signs of easing up before next summer.
We had our first snowfall of the autumn today. It wasn’t particularly heavy and didn’t amount to much but the county had announced last night that there would be a two hour delay this morning. This morning they cancelled school for the day. For those of us who don’t mind driving in a little slush, this meant anyone preferring not to drive stayed off the road. That made driving all the easier and it was pretty quiet at work. Plenty of time to do, of course, but not a lot of people. Not that people actually come to my door very often, in any case. Getting home was no worse than getting to work and we left a little early so as not to drive in the dark, as the temperature dropped, possibly below freezing.
Cathy and I left work a little early and we took her mom and all went to vote this evening. The lines were not too long, which was nice and especially so since we were told that it had been pretty busy all day. As we were leaving, I didn’t want to hang around because I could see the sunset was shaping up to be something really nice and I hadn’t brought my camera with me. I didn’t expect to need it on the short drive to the elementary school and back and I hadn’t considered that there might be something like this waiting for me.
When we got home, I rushed to the back yard and took a few dozen photos. It just got better and better. The clouds were moving to the north east quite quickly so the sky was changing patterns even faster than it was changing colors. This vertical shot was taken with the 100mm lens, looking between the trees almost due west. I had a hard time picking one from all the good pictures I got.
We had a really lovely sunset this evening. There were clouds at two different levels. The higher clouds were lit by the setting sun while the lower clouds were mostly grey. The lower clouds, however, were scattered and you could see the upper clouds through the gaps between them. Also, they lower clouds were moving very quickly, both in absolute terms and relative to the higher clouds. It was quite beautiful and changed from moment to moment. There were also at least two bats flying around the yard, hopefully eating mosquitoes. There’s one in this picture, although I’m not sure I could identify it as a bat from the photographic evidence if I hadn’t seen it while I was taking the picture.
We met our good friends Krystal and Mike for dinner this evening at Villa Maya Restaurant. Cathy and I got there a few minutes early, which turned out to be really good, as it meant we didn’t have to wait long for a table. Before we went in, I took a moment to take a few pictures of the clouds to the south, which were building up to an impressive height. I really love clouds and especially those that are really moving, whether they are moving horizontally or growing taller, as these were doing. Dinner was wonderful. Well, the food was fine. The company was as good as it gets.
Today is Cathy and my 34th anniversary. We spent much of the day working on going through things in our garage and then at her mom’s house, getting more things out and into our slightly more organized garage. There’s more to go and this seems to be never ending but the day will come when we have finished and it’s all behind us. In the evening, though, we went out to Baronessa, a little Italian restaurant that we enjoy. There was a large group (I counted 29 people) celebrating a woman’s 90th birthday, but we were able to get a table and have a nice meal. As we left, the sun was setting in the west (where it usually sets). So, this is our Anniversary Sunset.
We were preparing to go to the Whites’ house, just a little way down the beach, when the sun was setting. There were a couple guys working on the top of the water tower near where we were staying and as the clouds were moving past, there were occasional flashes of lightning and distant thunder. None of is was closer than three or four miles but if it were me up there it would have made me a bit nervous. Anyway, I took some pictures of the water tower with the sunset color in the clouds behind it. It was pretty impressive. Of course, if I had gotten a picture of lightning striking the tower it would have been both amazing and tragic. Fortunately for those guys, it didn’t happen.
I was really hoping for another good sunset this evening. There were lines of clouds in the west and it had the look of shaping up to be quite nice. By 8:40 or so, however, most of the clouds were gone and there were just a few, low in the sky and mostly behind the trees and houses of our neighborhood. This photo was taken at 8:51 and there is a little color on the clouds but this isn’t the sort of sunset you call your family out to see. I took pictures and got what I could, but it wasn’t what I had hoped for. Maybe next time.
Sometimes you can see things lining up to make a nice sunset. Of course, even when things look right, it doesn’t happen, but this evening I could tell it was coming and it came. I took a few pictures of the clouds before there were any colors, just in case, but the colors came. The color extended pretty much over the entire sky from west to east. This photo was taken looking almost straight up with a 10mm lens (which on my APS-C-sensor camera is equivalent to a 16mm lens on a full frame sensor). The top of the tree showing at the top of the photo is behind me.
We spent more time at Cathu’s mom’s house today. David and Maggie are on their way home and Dorothy leave tomorrow to go back to Massachusetts but we were able to straighten up a few things and bring the items Dorothy wanted back to our house. It was warm and the house still has no air conditioning but the contractor is scheduled to come on Thursday to put in a new one. Shortly after we got home it started raining and there was a rainbow. I took a few pictures of that, although they didn’t turn out terribly well. Then a little later, as the sun set, there were some pretty clouds. They were losing their color by the time they got near enough to the moon for a picture, but a few made it before the color was entirely gone.
We spent much of the day working in Cathy’s mom’s house, mostly going through things in the store room in the basement. Where many people have attics that are used to keep things that are never touched but which they don’t want to throw away, this house has a large room in the basement with shelves on both sides. The near end, while somewhat claustrophobic, is at least accessible and the Christmas decorations, at least, are moved in and out annually. The rear half, however, is more of a mystery. There are trucks and barrels, some of which probably haven’t been opened since they were put there, as many as fifty years ago. It turns out that some of them were infiltrated by mice while others were not. Those that were are nearly or entirely a lost cause. Others, though, seem to have protected their contents which are still in virtually the same condition as when they were stored.
Rather than show you any of that, however, I’d decided to post this photo of a portion of the clouds that were forming as we drove home at about twenty to six.
I went to my mom’s after work and while I was there we had a bit of a storm blow through. There was lightning (as close as about a half mile) and very heavy rain for about half an hour. I stuck around until the rain let up so I wouldn’t get soaked getting back to my car. Then, on the way home, the sun began to come out and I started looking for a rainbow. When I got to Norbeck, I saw it, so I pulled into the Safeway parking lot and took a picture or three. In some that I took with the 100mm lens you can see supernumerary bands inside the lower ark. I decided, though, that I’d post this one, showing two more or less complete arcs. By the way, none of this ROYGBIV nonsense. The proper mnemonic is VIBGYOR.
I stopped at the Avery Road parking lot above Lake Frank on the way home today. It was a beautiful, cool afternoon with—as you can see—billowy white clouds. This was taken with the sun at my back, looking northeast over the lake. I took a few the other direction, as well. This would be a good spot for sunset pictures, although it’s not somewhere you can just drive up to. It’s a few minutes walk down from the parking area. Still, if I am on my way home and there’s a good sunset coming on, it might be worth a try to get here in time. Of course, sunsets around the time I’m coming home are mostly a winter thing.
The wind was really whipping the tree tops around this evening and I thought I’d try to get a picture that showed that movement, at least a little. It didn’t work out as well as I would have liked but the clouds behind the trees were pretty, so that helps make up for it. If you look at the top branches on the right you can see that they are blurred. That’s because of the movement. There were a few pictures that showed the movement better than this one but even on those it was a bit too subtle. And this one has prettier clouds, so there you are.
I believe I’ve said before that this is one of my favorite events of the year. Oh, I enjoy Christmas, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, and other holidays and special occasions. But none quite compare to Easter. We talked about ‘morning people’ this morning. I am one. Cathy, not so much. But we set the alarm for 5:00 AM and left by 5:30, getting to Fourth Presbyterian in time for the 6:00 AM sunrise service. Actually, the sun didn’t rise until after 6:50, when the service was over. It was pretty overcast, in any case, so you couldn’t really tell. We went inside for a lovely breakfast and then went to the regular 8:00 AM service, complete with orchestra and choir. As I write this, I can smell the leg of lamb that’s roasting and shortly will have potatoes in the oven to get crispy. So, I’m looking forward to one of my favorite meals. Happy Easter to all. He is risen!
There were pretty clouds in the west this evening and I took some pictures of them even before it got close to time for the sun to set. Those pictures were my insurance, in case the sunset itself wasn’t anything worth photographing. As it turned out, it was worth photographing, though. The clouds turned their characteristic orange and were quite spectacular for a good fifteen minutes or so. As you might expect, I took quite a few pictures and that usually makes it hard to pick just one to post for the day. This is a representative sample.
Cathy and I went to work together today. Since she had an appointment during the day, she took the car, which meant she picked me up after work. The front of my building faces northeast, so the wrong way, generally, to get sunset pictures. Nevertheless, there was a little color in the clouds low in the sky, behind the trees along the edge of the parking lot. I have to say, I’m really happy about the woods next to my building. I don’t get out into them as often as I might but if there were another building with its inevitable parking lot, it would be a terribly boring place. As it is, this small piece of land has been sitting idle for about 25 years. There is a sign on the corner advertising the upcoming development. That’s been unchanged for at least 15 years. One day it will be bulldozed and paved, but for now, it’s a nice bit of parkland.
When it comes to taking a picture every day, there are—as you’ve probably noticed—when I have a hard time finding something to photograph. I could easily skip those days and no one would really miss them. On the other hand, by forcing myself to take pictures every day, I get out more often than I would. If I could say to myself, “It doesn’t matter if you go out today. You can just skip today like you’ve skipped other days.” But when I haven’t skipped other days, that won’t work.
Days when there are events are easier because I generally know I’ll be able to take pictures of people. Tonight was such an event and consequently I didn’t bother taking pictures all day. Instead I worked in my basement, sorting old papers and things (mine this time). I was pretty sure there would be people I know that I could photograph in the evening. Then, after driving to Bethesda with Cathy and Margaret, and after they went inside, I parked the car and saw the sunset. I still took pictures inside but these are going to be enjoyed by more people than pictures of people that a lot of folks don’t know. Not that a lot of folks actually see them, but whatever.
A little over five weeks ago I posted a picture of a waxing crescent moon, seen through trees and taken from my mother-in-law’s house. Today’s post is a waxing gibbous moon, although seen through tree branches but this time taken from out front yard. I had been out taking pictures of Eranthis hyemalis (winter aconite) and then noticed the moon. So, you’ll have to wait for another flower picture in favor of this one. The moon is nearing full and was quite lovely against the darkening blue of the sky and set off by the branches of a red oak tree (Quercus rubra) in our front yard.
The other day (see Sunday, February 18, 2018) I was waiting and hoping for a spectacular sunset that never materialized. This evening, as I came out of the grocery store, there were a few clouds in the west. They were only slightly colored and not particularly spectacular but I was pretty sure tonight’s sunset wasn’t going to amount to anything, either. I figured pictures taken then would be as good as I was going to get. I was right. Sorry about that. Maybe next time.
The evening sky showed a lot of promise of a spectacular sunset. Starting at a little before 5:15 PM I waited and watched. Every now and then I’d take a picture of the clouds and the beautiful blue sky, anticipating how it would look when the clouds turned a bright orange as the sun dipped behind the horizon. This photo was taken about two minutes before official sunset but sunset colors are just after. This evening, however, most of the clouds were gone shortly after this photo was taken. What clouds were left went from white to pale gray without any color in between. It took about 3 seconds for the light to go out.
The forecast was for snow today. It’s been in the upper 40s and even the low 50s lately, so I wasn’t really expecting it to amount to much. In the morning it was overcast but no precipitation. Cooler but still just above freezing. At about 2:00 PM it started snowing and by 3:00, when this picture was taken, it was coming down fairly hard. We probably got about 2 inches in all, but it was pretty wet and not what I’d call winter wonderland type snow. Still, the falling snow was pretty against the bare trees and the copper colored Japanese maple leaves in our neighbor’s yard.
I stopped briefly at Rockville Cemetery on the way home. It isn’t on my normal route home but it isn’t all that far out of my way, either. I had to run to the bank after work, so that put it more or less convenient. The sun was setting through the trees to the west and I got a few pictures of the grave stones lit by the nearly horizontal rays. Then I turned at the upper part of the cemetery and took this one looking into the sun. Actually, it’s an HDR photo, make from three images and then mostly desaturated to produce the nearly monochrome image.
It’s been wintry again, which is alright by me, especially seeing as how it’s winter. Our winters are relatively mild compared to some but colder than others, which is sort of what living in a temperate climate is all about, I guess. I pretty much stayed in my office today, with a brief walk across campus and back for a meeting. Other than that I was focused on the task at hand. I took a short break in the early afternoon to take a few pictures but didn’t leave my office to do it. This is the top of a fairly large elm tree on the side of our parking lot. There are two of them that have managed to hold out against Dutch Elm Disease and this is the smaller of the two. They’re likely to go at some point but I’ll enjoy them until that day comes.
The new moon was four days ago, on January 16. The synodic period (the amount of time between full moons, or new moons or whatever) is 29 days, 12 hours, and about 44 minutes. The sidereal orbit (the orbit around the earth without regard to the relative position of the sun) is a little more than two days shorter than that, of course. In the time it takes the moon to circle the earth, the earth has moved almost one twelfth of the way around the sun and it takes the moon that extra two-plus days to get back into the same position relative to the sun and the earth. During the first quarter of the cycle, the moon is a growing (waxing) crescent (less than half visible). The second quarter it is waxing gibbous (more than half visible).
We had a pretty spectacular sunset this evening and I enjoyed watching the bands of clouds turn a beautiful orange, against the darkening blue of the southwestern sky. It had been a pretty busy day, with folks moving into Cathy’s mom’s house and doing a very small bit more towards getting her things out of it. There is a lot more to do, of course. Nevertheless, a sunset like this helps me unwind and slow down. I stand on the back steps and just watch, occasionally lifting my camera to take yet another picture, as the colors grow more intense. Is a very healing activity and I’m thankful for beautiful sunsets (and sunrises) and the opportunities they provide.
As I was leaving work today, there was another nice sunset going on through the trees along the back edge of the parking lot. I took a few pictures, knowing these events are fleeting and if you don’t act quickly, you can easily miss them. Then I drove around to Cathy’s building to pick her up and as I turned into her parking lot, this is what I saw. I parked at the top of the lot, up the hill so as to get as much sky over the trees and the building on the left as possible. This one turned out pretty well, I think. These are not the colors I generally associate with sunset but they are what they are. Within about five minutes, all the color was gone except some deep blues as the sky faded to black.
It was mostly clear today and fairly cool. As I was leaving work there was this one cloud to the east. As I stopped at a light, I grabbed my camera and got too pictures of it before the light changes and I had to watch where I was going. It’s been a busy few weeks and I’ve had a hard time getting pictures every day. I’ve managed but some days is a chore. I really appreciate sunsets because I generally don’t have to go far for the picture, especially when I’m in my car (and when I have traffic lights to stop me). This image is a little soft because it was taken through the windscreen, but it’s really more about the colors than anything else.
I stopped at the ICC commuter parking lot on the way home this evening. The sunset wasn’t particularly spectacular today but it’s the picture I got. To slightly alter a photographic adage, the best sunset is the one you have with you. To the south and northwest there were a few small clouds and a little subtle color but I wasn’t able to capture it well enough to be worth posting. To the west, looking towards the setting sun, there was a pretty orange color in the sky. Not overwhelming, but pretty.
Finding a good location to take sunset pictures is worth the trouble. You don’t always have time to get to them, of course, but if you see a sunset shaping up, it’s nice to know where to head. This evening we had been in Olney and were coming down Georgia Avenue. Ahead of us and to the right, where the sun was setting, there were no clouds. Behind us, however, to the northeast, where you don’t generally think of looking for sunset colors, there was a large bank of clouds that were beginning to show some nice color. I pulled into the ICC Commuter parking lot and we walked to the top of the hill separating it from the ICC (MD 200). This picture was taken looking almost directly away from the sun, from due north (on the left) to the east (on the right). This is a three photo panorama, taken with a 24mm lens.
Are there more pretty sunsets in the winter than in the summer? I honestly don’t know the answer to that. It seems like it but maybe it’s just that I’m up before the sun quite a bit more often in the winter. This was taken at 7:32 this morning. That’s about as late as the sun rises around here. In the summer, I’m only up before the sun on rare occasions. Anyway, I saw the colored light from inside and grabbed my camera, going out into the front yard to get this. I also got the final inspection for the bathroom remodel this morning (a little later). So, a good start to the day.
The other day as I was leaving work there was a beautiful sunset but it was obscured by the woods along the edge of my office parking lot. I thought that if I hurried, I could get to the other side of the woods and get a good picture before it was gone. I was wrong. I wasn’t half way there before the color was all gone from the sky. So, when I saw some good color through the trees I didn’t bother trying to get around the trees. If I had, I’d have been disappointed again. Instead I just took a few pictures through the trees. It’s maybe a little less spectacular than if I had been on the other side, but it’s certainly better than no trees and no sunset colors. We take what we can get.
It was a cool but pretty day today with a little bit of snow still on the ground from yesterday. It happens to also be my birthday and I’m 29 again. Actually, I’m 29 twice, if you know what I mean. We had a fairly busy day but ended it with a wonderful meal and a nice visit with our long-time friend, Yvette (who was one of Cathy’s bridesmaids many moons ago). Just before we left for her house I got some pictures of the sunset from the back door. It was a good one.
I know, I know. Yet another sunset. Actually, they seem to be popular and we’ve been blessed with some nice, if somewhat understated sunsets lately. I had a very busy day at work and really didn’t lift my head from my computer until it was nearly time to go home. When I turned around there was just a little bit of pink in the sky. My office windows faces north, though, and this was taken after I went outside, looking to the south west, where there was considerably more color in the sky. The best color was due west but there are woods that direction and most of the view was obscured by the trees.
As you probably learned in school, the moon’s orbit around the earth is not circular but elliptical. On average, the moon is 385,000 kilometers (239,000 miles) from earth but tonight is was at perigee, that is at the closest point in its orbit to the earth, and 357,492 km (222,135 miles) from earth. It’s also near syzygy, which is when the moon, earth, and sun all line up (which is when there is a lunar or solar eclipse). Because it’s not exactly at syzygy, it’s just a bigger than normal full moon. George loaned me his telescope a while back and I got it out this evening to see if I could get anything worth while. I bought a t-ring adapter and this is my first chance to use it.
The clouds to the west showed a lot of promise this evening and I was really hoping for a spectacular sunset. Unfortunately, the color never really developed. The timing of positioning of the clouds and what little color there was didn’t line up, either, so I had to make do with this picture, taken about 20 minutes before the color would have been best. This is looking south-west from out back door. It’s convenient to have a view like that on the days we do get color, but you can’t always get what you want.
On Tuesday of last week I took a picture of a sunset, which I posted here. That was taken in the parking lot of our local Safeway store after I came out from a brief shopping trip. This evening I stopped at Safeway to pick up a prescription and as I parked, I saw this to the west. Naturally I took a few moments to get some pictures before going inside. Most of the sky was clear, but with my 100mm lens, I could concentrate on the small amount of color just over the buildings.
On the way home from work I stopped at the grocery store to buy a few things. When I came out, the sun was setting and the light on the clouds was quite beautiful. I didn’t have time to get anywhere more open so I took a handful of pictures from the shopping center parking lot. With my 100mm lens I was able to avoid the buildings and parking lot lights and concentrate on the colors. This one turned out pretty well, I think.
I stopped at Upper Rock Creek Park (a.k.a. Lake Needwood) today on the way home from work. I like to do that now and then, especially in the spring when new things are coming up or in the fall when the leaves are so lovely. But neither of those are true right now, so I’m not entirely sure why I did. But I did. As I walked down through the woods I saw a great blue heron fly across the lake and land in a dead tree on a point just a little way ahead. I knew there was a path out onto that point so I made my way there, walking as quietly as I could. The path goes steeply down the hill at the end, right under the tree the bird was in and I was only able to get three pictures as it flew off, almost directly into the sun. So, it’s not necessarily what I was hoping for but it’s probably better then I should have expected.
This didn’t turn out nearly as well as I had hoped and doesn’t really show the orange tint to the light on the upper parts of the trees in our front yard. It was a beautiful, cool evening. When I came home from work I took my shoes off and walked in the grass in the front yard, which was cool and damp and felt wonderful. The color of the light shifted just before sunset and it was one of those subtly beautiful evenings. It wasn’t spectacular, like a sunset with colorful clouds, but it was quietly lovely.
I hadn’t taken any pictures during the day today but as the evening progressed I had a feeling we might get a nice sunset. The clouds were nice and the conditions seemed right. At about 6:45 I took some pictures of the clouds but of course at that point there wasn’t really any color in them. They were just pretty clouds against a blue sky. Sunset was at 7:06 and as that approached, the light that had been on the clouds went away and the turned from white to grey. There was a little color in the eastern sky, so I went around to the front of the house and got a few pictures of that, but it wasn’t all that spectacular. Coming back to the backyard, though, the western sky had finally turned. This was taken at 7:13 PM, seven minutes or so after official sunset.
In case you’ve been living in a cave for the last month or so, there was a total solar eclipse across the middle of the lower 48 states today. The area of totality was far enough south of us that I didn’t feel any great need to visit Dana or Alan, cousins in Nashville, TN and Columbia, SC respectively. We would have something to watch here, even if it wasn’t as spectacular as what they’d get. I made two pinhole cameras, one to leave with Dorothy and the other to take with me to work. Cathy and I went out and watched with a lot of other folk from work, some with eclipse glasses, others with their own pinhole box cameras, and some looking at the image in my box, which was rigged up on the ground and was easily viewed. That made it easy to track the progress of the eclipse.
The first image here was taken at 2:38, about four minutes before it reached its maximum obscuration of just over 80%. There were clouds moving past for the next six or seven minutes, so this was the best I got. I know it isn’t anywhere near as good as what some folks will get, but I’m pretty pleased with it.
The second picture is the shade thrown by a walnut tree by the side of the parking lot. As you can see, each place where light comes through the leaves acts like a pinhole camera, projecting a crescent image on the ground.
It continues to be quite busy at work but today was something of a turning point in the project I’m working on. I made a lot of progress and it’s starting to come together. There is still plenty more to do, but I’m a little less panicked now. At about 4:30 I decided to take a short break and go outside to take a few pictures. I got a few that I think are nice but as I was heading back to my office it started to sprinkle a little. There is a drainage pond near the sidewalk, just through the trees, and I made my way to it and took this picture of the raindrops softly landing on the surface of the pond.
When you plan your beach trip months in advance, you never know what sort of weather you’re going to get. Some years it’s very hot and muggy, others, relatively cool and pleasant. This year was a cool and pleasant year, a rare but welcome occurrence. I think it barely broke 85°F the whole week. This morning was the only day with a sunrise worth getting up for. The other days either had completely clear or (on Friday) an entirely overcast sky. Today’s sunrise made up for the other days’ lack, though. There were a lot of folks out on the beach at 6:30 watching it, looking for shells in the sand as the tide ebbed (high tide was about two hours previous to this picture).
As many of you know, we were at the beach last week. I’m going to try to get caught up posting pictures so expect two per day for the next week. We had a relatively easy drive down on Saturday, covering the 420 or so miles in a little over 7.5 hours. It was drizzling when we left home, then south of Richmond we had mostly sunny skies. We had rain going around Wilmington, NC and it was cloudy and threatening after that. The sunset was pretty amazing, with the color from the sky turning the ocean an amazing color.
I took a few pictures of flowers in the yard when I got home but then I went to my men’s meeting and on the way home stopped to take a few sunset pictures. This was taken from Veterans Park at the intersection of Veirs Mill Road and Rockville PIke, looking west (obviously). I like that there is some color reflected in the building on the left. We haven’t had a lot of spectacular sunsets lately so we’ll take what we get. That’s one feature of the spring and fall that I particularly like, though, along with the cooler temperatures, of course.
We had a rip-roaring thunderstorm this evening. We didn’t lose power although it flickered once. The lightning was near by for a while, though. It rained quite hard for a while, then rained most softly off and on for a while longer. As the sun was setting, it began to clear and the sky turned orange for a little while, mostly close to the horizon. It wasn’t the most spectacular sunset I’ve ever seen but it was very pretty for about fifteen minutes. Then the color was gone and it got dark. A nice ending to a hot, muggy day.
I love clouds. There are days when I could just lie on the grass and watch them for hours. Actually, I’d almost always much rather do that than sit in my office and work. But then, I understand if you stop coming to the office they stop paying you. That’s an incentive. But watching clouds is so nice. This afternoon I found a spot with a good, uninterrupted view of the sky and took this picture, along with about ten more, of the clouds. This one was taken with my 10-20mm zoom pulled in to 20mm. I took some wider shots but frankly, with clouds its hard to tell which are which.
When I got home from work this evening I took some pictures of flowers in the yard. Then, just before 8:00, as the sun was getting ready to set, I went out with Cathy and we enjoyed watching the clouds rushing across the darkening sky. They were moving quite fast and mostly were just dark. Actually, what I first got my camera for was to take pictures of the light in the tree tops. The trees were in shadow, except for the tops which were lit with bright orange. Occasionally a piece of cloud would also light up, and that’s what I have picked for you today.
Dorothy was in class again today so Cathy and I were on our own. We had breakfast in a little place in Manchester by the Sea and then drove up towards Essex. We wanted to be outdoors and I thought some of the tidal marshes in the area would be pretty. As it turns out, we got there at just about high tide for one of the highest tides of the year. Also, it was overcast and a bit foggy, which gave the whole scene an eerie, surreal quality. We had a lovely chat with a local homeowner who was out with her dog and then enjoyed the view.
I was stopped at a traffic light and looking in front of my I saw these trees with clouds behind them. At first I though about getting my camera out but then figured I didn’t really have time. By the time I realized I probably did have time, I only was able to get off one quick picture as traffic started moving again. The alignment isn’t quite what I would have liked. If I had been slightly back from my position the clouds would have been slightly higher, but it’s not like I could move back to get a better angle. Anyway, pretty spring clouds on a lovely day.
The ‘huge’ snow storm that was forecast for the east coast really didn’t live up to its potential. Predicting these things isn’t easy and a few degrees of temperature can make all the difference. As it turned out, it was a few degrees warmer throughout the region and what was supposed to be 4 to 7 inches barely made it past 2. Further north, where they were expecting as much as two feet didn’t get more than a half a foot, I believe. This photo makes the storm look a lot more serious than it was. This is from our kitchen window, looking up into the trees in our neighbor’s yard, using a telephoto lens. Also, it didn’t snow this hard for very long. All in all, not really much to write home about.
We actually had both a beautiful sunrise and a beautiful sunset today. The sunset was prettier than the sunrise but I was driving during the sunset and getting a picture was a bit difficult. I did take two while stopped in traffic on 270 but then traffic started moving again so I let it go and just enjoyed it. The sunrise was while I was home and it was a simple matter of walking out front to take a few pictures from the driveway. It wasn’t as colorful as some we’ve had but it was still pretty.
We got a proper, colorful sunset this evening and I enjoyed watching it come on. Every now and then, as dusk was approaching, an airplane would fly across the sky and when it got to the right point, it would reflect the light of the setting sun and turn into a bright star for a few seconds. After a while I noticed one that seemed to be standing still. At first I thought it was just very far away and therefore seemed to move more slowly but it didn’t take long to realize that it wasn’t moving at all. Turns out it was Venus, appearing about twenty minutes before sunset (which was at 5:47). This picture was taken about fifteen minutes after that. If you cannot see Venus in the picture, you may need to view it on a larger screen, or zoom in. It’s right about in the center from left to right, about 1/6 the way down from the top edge of the photo, at the upper edge of the clouds. (Of course, all it is is a tiny, white speck.)
Well, it looked as though I’d finally get the sunset I’ve been looking for the last few days. Each day the clouds seemed perfect for something spectacular as the sun approached the western horizon. Each day the sun would go down without any particular light on the clouds. Today seemed the best opportunity of all. Although they covered most of the sky, the clouds were more scattered and I had a real feeling that this time they’d get the setting sun’s final light. They did, too. The only problem was that the 20 minutes or so leading up to the sunset saw all the clouds move off to the south east. The only clouds left in the western sky where low, just over the horizon. Looking through the trees between the houses behind ours I got a small but of colored clouds. That will have to do.
I was hoping for a spectacular sunset this evening. As the sun sank in the west, the clouds seemed just about right for something with a lot of color, covering the entire western sky with orange. As it turned out, we didn’t get anything very bright. In fact, it just got dark. Not to say that a daily sunset isn’t something for which to be thankful. We’re so used to the daily cycle we take it for granted, but it’s still a gift and it’s beautiful in its own way without the bright color we sometimes get. So, I like this picture, even though it isn’t what I was hoping to have.
The clouds were quite beautiful this afternoon. There was no colorful sunset to speak of but before that, they were rushing across the sky in a very impressive display. I really like clouds and could sit outside or (when it’s a bit warmer) lie on the grass and just watch them for hours. It’s cool out now. Not cold as it probably should be, but cool, so I didn’t stay out a terribly long time. Also, I was barefoot. But I enjoyed the changing patterns and the contrast between the clouds with the sun shining on them and those that were in shadow, both set against the brilliant blue sky.
The forecast called for snow today. Not a blizzard but over the last few days the forecast varied from as much as 6 to 10 to as little as 3 inches. Well, we didn’t really come close to that. This morning when I got up, Accuweather was saying we’d get 0.2 inches between 9:00 and 10:00 and that was about it. As it turned out, it did snow but it certainly didn’t snow very much and there was never any on the ground. In the afternoon, this is what the sky to the east looked like. Not exactly menacing. It was fairly breezy and it got down into the low 30s (Fahrenheit) but as a winter storm it was definitely pretty weak.
The sun is setting later and later now. Not long ago it was going down as I left work at 5:00 PM. Not it’s after 5:30. I’m not complaining (far from it). It means I have a little time after work to get some pictures while it’s still light. Of course today is Saturday so I have more time. I took a few pictures this morning in my mother-in-law’s yard but they aren’t anything worth posting (not that I haven’t posted plenty of such). The sunset wasn’t a full-sky affair this evening but still quite beautiful. This was taken out our back door, looking over the house behind us.
In the evening, generally in the hour or so before sunset, there is a steady stream of crows, always flying in a generally southward direction. We often see them from our back yard in relatively small but significant numbers. As I was driving home this evening, enjoying the faint coloring of the eastern sky ahead of me, there were a lot of crows flying from left to right (north to south) across the road as I neared the bridge over Rock Creek. It’s hard to get a photograph of a flock of birds that is as impressive as the flock, unless there really are a lot of them, so this photo may not look like much. I was sitting in traffic and they just kept coming, at about this volume, the whole time I watched. I wonder where they go to roost. I’m glad it isn’t in my back yard.
The Christmas break has been over for a while and I’ve been back at work since January 3rd. Nevertheless, the Christmas season continued until today. There were two things that signaled the end of the season. The first (and admittedly more important) is that Dorothy went back to school. Actually, she left last night and drove to Pennsylvania where she stayed with a friend. They went the rest of the way to school today. The second signal that Christmas is really gone is that the last of the ginger snaps have been eaten. These are the final two. They were as good as always but now they’re gone.
I’m on vacation this week. Staycation, actually. Not going anywhere, just taking off work. It’s become something of a tradition for me. With Dorothy home from school, it’s extra special. So, I don’t have to get up early to go to work. But I woke up early anyway. I managed to get back to sleep at 5:30 and again at 6:15 but the third time I woke up I decided to get up. I’m glad I did because just before 7:30 the sky lit up with a beautiful orange glow. It was raining very lightly but the clouds were thin enough that the sun was having a wonderful effect on them. This is what it looked like outside my front door this morning.
Yesterday I got a sunrise photo at about 7:15 AM. Today, we see a sunset at 4:45 PM. These are about the extremes for our latitude, yesterday and today being about the shortest days of the year. As of now, the sunrise will get earlier and the sunset later. I was coming home the round about way today, having had an errand in Olney, so I stopped at the commuter parking lot at the ICC and went to the top of the hill to get this picture of the sun setting behind the trees in the distance.
At a little after 7:00 this morning I noticed that the color of the morning light was on the orange/pink side and I grabbed my camera and went out front to take a few pictures. This is the best time of year for sunrise photographs, not least because the sunrise is about as late as it gets so I’m more liable to be up and about. On the other hand, I generally have very little time to get the color so I grab my camera and run out without bothering with shoes, which I rarely wear when I’m inside. It’s not as cold as it was last week, fortunately, or that might have been painful.
I got a few pictures of the lower, eastern sky, where the most color was (and it was fading fast). I turned and took this one to the southeast, where the crescent moon was floating among the colored clouds. In some ways it isn’t as good a picture as the others but I thought the moon makes it unusual enough to warrant it’s appearance here.
Where clouds are made up of especially tiny ice crystals or water droplets, they can cause light to be diffracted, creating this rainbow-like effect in the clouds. I saw one to the left of the sun as I was driving up interstate 95 from the capital beltway and then when I got onto Maryland 200 (the Inter-county Connector) I saw this on to the right of the sun. I was able to pull over and take a couple pictures of it before it faded away. I love clouds and take pictures of them fairly often but don’t figure most people will be as interested as I am, so only post them here when they are involved in sunsets or particularly unusual (like the Fallstreak hole I photographed in November, 2013). This isn’t nearly as rare as that, but I still like it when I see it.
A short drive (or long walk) from where I work are three connected buildings with great, reflective glass sides. They used to be the office and labs of Human Genome Sciences but they are now identified as GSK, which (a little digging proved) stands for Glaxo-Smith-Kline (although they insist on it being one word). According to Wikipedia, GSK is “a British pharmaceutical company headquartered in Brentford, London. Established in 2000 by a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham, GSK was the world’s sixth largest pharmaceutical company as of 2015.” But I’m here for the reflections.
After voting today, I drove back to the office by way of Lake Needwood. The trees are a little past peak, I’d say (boy, that was fast) but are still quite beautiful. Also, the little bits of cloud contributed to the variety of colors. I’ll probably have a few more fall-color pictures for you, but it won’t be long until they are replaced by branches, dried leaves, and wintry scenes. While all the seasons have something to recommend them, for me, autumn is the prettiest, followed by Spring. But spring is followed by summer, which means heat, and I’m less fond of that than cold. I’m looking forward to the winter.
At the request of a few of my fans (I know you’re out there, I can hear you breathing) I’m trying to balance the insect pictures with sunset pictures. Actually, I pretty much take the sunsets when I can, but it’s not something you can just go out and find. They happen or they don’t (well, they happen every day but they aren’t always worth photographing). Today as I was heading into Rockville in the evening the sky was quite beautiful. Unfortunately I didn’t have a good place to stop until I got to St. Mary’s Church at the corner of Veirs Mill and Rockville Pike. That’s where this was taken.
When I got home I went out back and took a few pictures of the clouds over our neighborhood. This is the sort of sky you’ll see in a painting and think, the sky never actually looks like that. Well, it does. I had every expectation that about an hour on there would be a very dramatic sunset and I left the camera by the back door so I could go out and get pictures. The fact that you are seeing this non-sunset picture has probably clued you in that it didn’t happen. In fact, an hour later when the sun was setting and I looked out at the darkening sky, there wasn’t a cloud to be seen. So, this is it, then.
Just a few days ago my mom, her friend, Donna, and I were talking. Donna said that while she appreciated the photos I’ve been posting lately, would it be too much trouble to post more sunset pictures. The insects and spiders were starting to give her the willies (I’m not quoting her, but that was the general feeling of her comments). Well, here you are, Donna. I was happy to have this sunset given to me less than a week after our conversation and I’m also happy to share it with all of you. We will now return to our standard, creepy-crawly photographs tomorrow.
We don’t have a membership at our local swimming pool and this isn’t the pool in our neighborhood, in any case. Our church is moving to a new location and some friends who happen to live in the area of that new site decided to have a party at their pool and invite their friends and neighbors. Because they wanted to spend the evening visiting with their guests, they asked me if I’d cook for them and I was happy to do so. I still got to visit some, once the bulk of the cooking was done, and of course I took a few pictures.
In addition to this one of the sunset colored sky, reflecting in the pool, I got quite a few of kids blowing bubbles and also playing with glowsticks. It was a very pleasant evening, not too hot and not terribly humid. In fact, a perfect fall evening. Of course, we’ll have a return of summer next week but hopefully it won’t be too long before we get into autumnal mode, weather-wise.
Thanks to Tammy, Joe, Joan, Victor, and Sally for putting on a nice evening and thanks also for letting me be there, even though I live in a different part of town.
I was driving into Rockville today and had a little time to spare. I decided to go to the First Baptist cemetery at the corner of W. Jefferson Street and Great Falls Road. On the way there I was sitting at a light and saw these clouds. I had plenty of time (it’s a long red) and I grabbed my camera and got three nice pictures before I had to put the camera down and start driving again. I also got some nice pictures of the cemetery but I decided I like this one better.
I went out to take some insect pictures this evening but it was a bit dark to get anything worth much. I got a bunch of pictures of leaf hoppers but none of them were sharp and all were a bit of a disappointment. I was sort of resigned to post a picture that was only half way decent of a skipper.
It wasn’t a long time later that the sun began to set and I realize I’d have the opportunity to take some other pictures and save you all (both of you) from that. So, here’s a sunset, instead of the skipper.
I know this isn’t a really great picture of lightning but hey, it’s a picture of lightning. This storm came through the evening of the 15th and Dorothy and I stood out, first on the front porch and then out back under an overhang. Later we moved into the garage and looked out the open door. I took quite a few pictures trying to capture a bolt of lightning and this is the only one I got. A much easier way to capture lightning, of course, is to take video and then pull out the frame that captures it. But I wanted to do it with a standard shot. This was a 1/3 second exposure at f/8 and there it is. Lightning.
I think clouds are cool, especially when dramatically lit. This evening that’s what they were. They were also casting shadows. They often do, of course, when they are in a mostly clear sky, but this evening was different. Instead of casting shadows on the ground, as they normally do, the sun was low enough in the sky that they were casting shadows horizontally on each other. The clouds in this picture are not as dramatic as some I photographed this evening but I love the horizontal band of darker sky, which is the shadow of the cloud on the left. The atmospheric haze caught the light and made the ‘beam’ of the shadow show up.
This isn’t quite a sunset picture, although the sun setting contributed to it. It’s more a picture of clouds as dusk drew on. Cathy and I were out on the beach for about fourty-five minutes starting about 7:45 and the clouds were really quite spectacular, even if I wasn’t able to capture them completely. The sky was as deep a blue as you’ll ever see it and the clouds on the right were quite dark. The white cloud at the top was growing quite rapidly and I thought we might get a big storm. A nice way to end a nice day at the beach. Cathy stayed out a little longer to check on the progress of a turtle next a little way up the beach.
It’s our fourth morning at the beach and we had our first sunrise worth my walking down to the beach to get pictures. I was afraid my lens would fog up when I went outside but it was actually cool out, about 68°F, so I had no problems. I took a bunch of pictures looking to the east and the rising sun. Then I turned around to find two ends of a rainbow, one over the ocean to the south and the other over the land. I got pictures of those, as well. What a beautiful morning.
I don’t know what, if anything, this pond is actually named but we call it Alligator Pond because we have seen alligators there in past years. This year we didn’t see any and didn’t see any of the water birds we’ve often seen, either. But the sky was fairly dramatic, so I took a picture of that instead. I think it made the short drive worth the effort. We stopped for Italian Ice on the way, too, which would have been enough on its own. But a nice picture is worth something in addition.
I was in south Rockville this evening, meeting the guys at Matchbox for dinner. I got there a little early and of course I had my camera with me. The sky was a really amazing blue and there were fluffy white clouds moving across it. Rather than take a picture of just a cloud, I decided to include a light post in the picture, hopefully breaking up the monotony at least a little. Still, it’s just a cloud on a beautiful blue sky. The pizza at Matchbox it killer, by the way, and paired with a vanilla porter, it was a wonderful meal.
I was on my way home this evening and the sun was setting in a fairly spectacular fashion. I pulled into the circle in front of St. Mary’s Parish Church to take a few pictures. This was the original St. Mary’s church in Rockville, founded in 1813. There were plans to tear down the old church when the new church building was planned in the 1960s. Fortunately, I think, it was preserved and is now known as the Chapel of Our Lady. The parish cemetery, seen here under the trees, is the final resting place for F. Scott and Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald (as well as many others, of course).
We had a bit of rain today. When I got to work, the person with whom I rode up in the elevator said the forecast was for storms between 2:00 and 10:00 p.m. but I didn’t realize it was going to be as severe as it was. It really rained. I have a window office so I often don’t turn on my overhead lights, much preferring the natural light (even though my office faces north and I don’t get direct sun) to awful fluorescent light. It got so dark I needed to turn on a lamp. It wasn’t raining when I drove home but rained hard again after I got there. I hadn’t taken any pictures so I went out front and took some of the rain. They turned out alright but as it happens, I decided not to post them after all.
I went to dinner with four other guys, eating and having a brew at Dogfish Head in Gaithersburg. When we left it was about 8:45 and the sun was low in the sky, the clouds had cleared overhead, and the western sky was absolutely beautiful. I took a few pictures through powerlines from along West Diamond Avenue and then drove up to the small shopping center on the southwest corner of Clopper and Quince Orchard Roads. From there I had a less obstructed view of the sunset and that’s where I took these two pictures. Full disclosure, I edited out some light posts that I think detracted from the view.
I was on my way home late this evening and the sun was getting low in the sky. I stopped at St. Mary’s Catholic Church to take a few pictures. First I took some of the reflections in the building across the street. After that I took some of clouds as they were lit up with color by the setting sun. This is the best of those I took, and I think it’s reasonably nice. It’s actually an HDR image, made from three separate pictures taken with different exposures and combined (using Corel AfterShot Pro 2) to give a more dynamic range to the image. I have mixed feelings about the overall look of HDR images but it really does produce some striking images.
It’s been a very nice weekend so far and Easter Sunday was nice, as well. For a few years now we’ve been going to the Fourth Presbyterian Church sunrise service at 6:00 a.m. on Easter. We woke up at about 5:00 and got there just as the service was starting. Of course it’s still dark when the service starts but by the end the sky has begun to turn an amazingly deep blue (which is when I took this picture).
After the service we went to the upper room for breakfast and to chat with folks that we don’t see nearly enough. I especially enjoyed talking with Greg, Aimee, and Michael, among others. We also went to the 8:00 a.m. service in the sanctuary, their regular early service. Easter music is among my favorite, generally better than Christmas music in my opinion, and Easter music at Fourth is particularly good, being accompanied by an orchestra. Today that included singing Christ The Lord Is Risen Today, Thine Is The Glory, (both of which we also sang outside earlier) and the service ending Hallelujah Chorus.
It’s a very good way to start an Easter celebration that really continued all day for us.
It was a beautiful evening and I enjoyed spending it with a couple of guys on Steve’s back patio. The stars were quite beautiful, it was cool, and I was with friends. I took a few photographs of the stars. This one had an exposure of 30 seconds at f/8 and turned out reasonably well, although even in 30 seconds, the earth’s rotation is enough to blur the starts a little. This is Orion with the uppermost bright start being Betelgeuse. At 4:00 to that is Bellatrix. Then the belt, Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka (left to right) and sword, the middle ‘star’ of which is actually the Orion Nebula (Messier 42). Finally there are the feet, Saiph on our left and the brighter Rigel on our right. The bright start in the lower left, the brightest start in our night sky, is Sirius in Canis Major (the greater dog).
I was out in the late morning today to have my car’s emissions tested. That took longer than hoped but not really longer than expected. I was behind a car in line that I’ve seen before. I remembered it because it is a little Mazda Miata convertible with a bumper sticker that says, “Honk if you’ve Passed P-Chem” and it always makes me smile and wonder a little about the driver. Anyway, while I was out then the sky was mostly overcast. When I left work, however, it was quite beautiful, with a pale blue sky showing through between fluffy, white clouds.
It’s been relatively warm the last week or so and most of the snow that fell a little over two weeks ago is gone (except the big piles where it was plowed off of roads and parking lots). It got a bit cooler today, down to about freezing, and there were some pretty significant snow squalls, starting in the morning and lasting into the early afternoon. By the end of the day it was clearing up and nothing had really accumulated on the ground, but it was pretty as it was falling. This was taken from my office window, a little after 1:00 p.m.
Yesterday (Friday, February 5) we drove down to Greensboro for the memorial service for my Uncle George. This morning, after breakfast I was drinking my second cup of coffee and ready in the breakfast room of our hotel. I happened to glance out the window and this is what I saw. I rad back up to the room, grabbed my camera and went outside to take a dozen or so pictures. That’s quite a nice way to start off any day, but particularly one when we’ll be mourning a loss, as we did today.
After work today I needed to run a few errands in southern Rockville. When I came out of the store, there was a fair amount of color in the western sky. I grabbed my camera and put the long lens on it so that I could get the colored sky without the buildings and parking lot lights in the foreground. Actually, I took a few with them showing, as well, but this one, I think, is the best. A month ago it was dark by the time I left work, so the days are clearly getting longer. We still have a fair amount of winter ahead of us, however.
At the risk of posting too many sunset pictures, here’s another one. They seem to be fairly popular with the general public, so I guess there won’t be too many complaints. I happened to look out my window at just the right time this evening (5:23 p.m. to be precise) and this is what I saw to the west (which is at an angle to the left out my window. Not extreme color but still quite lovely, I think.
I have fallen behind in posting to my blog again and this picture is from a week ago. I stood out the back door and watched the sunset progress this evening, lighting up the scattered clouds with bright orange. I tried to get a few with the snow in the foreground but they didn’t really turn out all that well. It was cool today but the forecast is for it to get warm over the weekend and the snow should start to melt. I’m not bothered, one way or the other, but I know quite a few people are getting tired of it. I enjoyed the sunset, regardless.
After the snow we had Friday evening through late last night, you were probably expecting me to post another snow picture for today. The snow was 25 or 26 inches deeps in our yard (depending on where we measured and avoiding obvious drifts). That’s a pretty good snowfall for here and I’m getting old enough that a snow blower is starting to look very attractive. Still, we got dug out and went for a walk (well, we went for a walk yesterday while it was snowing, so, what would you expect?). On the way back, I hear this flock of geese calling as they flew overhead. The sky was beautiful all day today, an intense blue with occasional (but friendly) clouds.
It’s just over 15 years into the twenty-first century and we’ve already had two “storms of the century” (2003 and 2010, some might also count 2006). All the forecast models say that we will have our third over the next two days. Considering how many storms of the century I’ve seen, I must be ancient. I’m so old that I remember when they were just big snow storms (and there was significant fear in some quarters that we were entering another ice age!). The news media is having its usual hysterics. It started snowing early this afternoon. When this photo was taken, there was barely an inch on the ground. By the time we went to bed at about 11:00, there were about six inches with considerably more due overnight. Let the Hunker Games begin.
As the sun was getting low in the western sky last night, the tops of the trees were beautifully lit. A picture of trees lit by the setting sun, though, isn’t really all that interesting and even the color isn’t as impressive in most pictures as it is in real life. So, I moved until the moon was in the frame and hope that helps enough that you won’t walk away for good. I found it interesting that even as far away as the tree branches are, at 300mm and f/11, they are not within the depth of field with the moon. I could focus on the branches or the moon. I opted for the moon.
I was out today running a fairly wide assortment of errands. I happened to be on Shady Grove Road and decided to run into Wonder Books (I still call it the Book Alcove in my mind but at least I’m finally remembering that that’s wrong and has been for a long time). When I came out the sun was setting so I looked for a place where I could see the sunset, which promised a bit of color. I found a parking lot overlooking Interstate 270 and took a dozen or so pictures through a chain link fence. It’s not the most spectacular sunset I’ve seen (even this week) but it was still pretty intense.
This evening the sunset wasn’t nearly as spectacular as last night but it was still quite pretty. I happened to be coming home via Needwood Road and stopped at Lake Needwood to take a few pictures. It was a bit darker than I would have liked and the sun was just hitting the tops of the trees on the far bank, but the sky was a beautiful blue and the wispy clouds over the lake were really nice. This was taken from right beside the road, standing on the low guardrail to give me a tiny bit of extra height.
I drove back from Boston today, having returned Dorothy to school for the spring semester. There had been mixed rain and snow overnight and there was ice on the parking lot when I got up. Once out on the roads, there were no real problems with the weather, though. The sky was clear in the morning and once I got away from Boston and the stop-and-go traffic on Interstate 95 things were fine. Late in the day I was driving directly into the lowering sun, which was tiring, but it meant that the sunset was directly in front of me as the sun sank into the west. It really was quite magnificent.
We had a pretty strong rainstorm this afternoon. It had been drizzling pretty much all day and then at about 3:00 it really came down. We heard that there was a rainbow and I saw some pictures that were amazing. We didn’t see it where we were, though.
I took some pictures while it was raining. I love the soft colors during a rainstorm. I also lover the sound of rain. If it isn’t too cold, I love being outside when it’s raining. Today was cool but not cold and it was quite warm inside so I enjoyed being outdoors in the rain.
It didn’t rain too long and as the rain stopped, the clouds started to clear and the sun was shining through and reflecting on the water in the parking lot at church. Quite a different feel from when it was raining. But pretty in a different way. A change from soft, muted colors it became dramatic with bright and intense colors.
It rained quite a bit today, off and on all morning. It had the look of a day that will be dreary for the duration. However, there was a brief episode of clearing at about 4:00 this afternoon. I was fortunate enough to turn around and look out the window and see it. The clouds were puffy and white, the sky between them was a deep, lovely blue, and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful evening. By the time I left work, though, it was overcast and grey again (but not actually raining).
Cathy and I went up to Pennsylvania with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law today to cut Christmas trees. It’s probably silly to go so far to cut trees but it’s become something of a tradition. Before going to get our trees, we stopped for a little while at the farm. It was a pretty day, with dramatic clouds and I took a few pictures of the pond, reflecting the trees and the clouds quite nicely. This is my favorite of the bunch. After getting our trees we stopped for lunch at Ott House in Emmitsburg on the way home.
This morning, as I was leaving for work (and running about 15 minutes late), I enjoyed the sight of the sun, streaming through a light fog that was just about to finish burning off. I had noticed the fog earlier but it was so thin, I didn’t think much of it in terms of photography. But the light in the fog out our front door was nice, so I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. Here you are.
Once again I had meant to go out during the day and take some pictures but once again I got busy and by the time I thought to go out, the light was failing. Actually, the sun was setting. Fortunately, there was a little color in the sky and by looking at an angle out my window I was able to see some clouds, lit by the setting sun.
It isn’t a particularly spectacular sunset, but it’s a sunset and better than nothing.
Now that the sun is going down before I leave work, it’s sort of tough to get good sunset pictures. My office looks northwest, so today, as the sun was going down, I did get a view, if I looked to the left out the window, of a little color on the clouds. It’s not much of a sunset, I admit, but I’ll take what I can get.
We had a few quite dreary days of rain and it finally cleared up today, so that was nice.
This picture isn’t everything I thought it might be, but it still evokes a memory. The crescent moon was shining through the quickly moving clouds this evening at about 9:00 p.m. and I found a place to park, so I could enjoy it for a few minutes. I put the camera on the roof of the car and took a few pictures. This one was with the 70–300mm lens at 240mm, f/5.7 for 1 second. It’s not very sharp, but still kind of nice. I got one more after this before the clouds got thicker and the moon was gone.
We have sunsets every day, as I think I’ve mused before. But really spectacular sunsets are much more rare. We often get pretty sunsets, though, and this evening was a good example. I was driving directly away from the sun and could see it in my rear view mirror. I found a place to stop for a picture. Actually, it was the same median where I took the picture titled Zelkovas On Fire (Friday, October 30, 2015). Most of the sky was not particularly colored but with a 300mm lens, I was able to look only at the area around the sun, which was quite brilliantly orange.
I headed down by Lake Needwood on the way home this evening. The sunlight was so sharp and the air was so clear. The evening light, with the southwestern hills casting shadows on the other side of the lake, was incredibly beautiful. The wind was quite low so there was only a little bit of movement in the water and the colors were reflecting wonderfully. As you can see, most of the leaves are down, but there are oaks still holding on to the deep reds, enhanced by the color of the light.
I left work early today to drive up to BWI to pick up my mom and others who were returning from a trip to a few eastern European countries. They spent about three weeks in Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Slovenia. It was nice to have them back and to hear about their time away. On the way up to the airport, the sun was setting and I took this picture of clouds in the northwest, lit by the evening sun.
The clouds were quite dramatic as I drove home this evening. I would have liked to stop and take a picture but the main road has no where to pull over where I’d be able to get a good view of the sunset. I pulled into the nearby shopping center and could see the clouds but the actual sunset was hidden. So, I made do with what I could see. These clouds were to the south of the setting sun and were nice enough, if not full of color, to deserve a picture of two.
The roads in our neighborhood are not particularly dramatic, in general. On rare occasions, like this morning, when the fog was fairly thick, they can be fairly beautiful (however search the web for “Dark Hedges Ireland” sometime for a really dramatic lane). As I went out to drive to work today I thought I’d spend a few minutes driving around the neighborhood taking pictures.
It would probably be better without the mailboxes and lamp posts or the minivan parked on the right, but it’s still quite pretty. These are fairly large red oaks, planted in 1968 or 1969, so a little over 45 years old, and going strong. One of the street trees in front of our house, planted at the same time, died and was removed (that’s where Cathy’s marigold bed is now). The other two are still healthy but not as large as these, which are nicely proportioned. The fog adds to the drama, of course.
I know I’ve done Lake Needwood recently (see Friday, October 23, 2015) but I went to work that way again today and stopped for some pictures. The sky was an amazing blue and the reflection of the sky was, if anything, more amazing. Many of the trees have lost their leaves but there is still some color left. A little orange, yellow, and red to contrast with the blue. Definitely worth stopping for ten minutes, even if it made me a few minutes late getting to work.
I’ve been enjoying the light after leaving work but because we went off so-called daylight saving time yesterday, the sun sets just about the time I leave work now. When I went out to my car this evening, the evening sun was just on the tops of the trees, both behind my building, where I park, and in front of the building, across the street. This is the view past my building to those across the street, where the trees are on a hill. My office is on the right, just out of the picture, looking out on the Norway spruce.
It was another absolutely beautiful day today. Cathy had a soccer game and I was in Potomac anyway, so I decided to go for a walk on the C&O Canal. I drove out River Road and down to Swain’s Lock, walking down the towpath towards D.C. There were quite a few people out, as you’d expect on a day like this, but fewer than there would have been in summer, I suppose. It was the perfect temperature for a walk and the sky was remarkably blue. The colors in the trees seem to have passed their peak, in general, but there was still a fair amount, here and there.
The beech trees are still mostly green and the sycamores nearly bare. There was less red then one could hope for, adding exclamation points to the vistas, but there were a few places, like around this rock, where there was still a riot of color to be seen.
Here I am posting a second time today (and the third picture). I don’t generally get complaints about sunsets, though, so I’ll go ahead. Actually, sunsets seem to be my number two most popular subject after people and family members in particular. I guess I understand that. Sunsets are pretty amazing, in spite of how common they are. The happen often (well, technically they happen every evening, but they are not spectacular every evening). But they are fleeting and ephemeral and really are not captured in a photograph. We only love the photographs because they remind us of the real thing, which is so much better.
I didn’t have a lot of time to get out for picture taking today. After work I fixed myself dinner before heading off for a meeting. Because traffic is so unpredictable around here, I like to give myself extra time, particularly on some routes. That includes Muncaster Mill Road, which sometimes backs up terribly. Tonight it wasn’t so bad and I got where I was going a bit early.
The moon was out and shining through the trees where I parked and I thought I’d take a few pictures of that before going in. This one is a 6 second exposure at f/5.7, with a little extra light on the trees from my flashlight, which is a fairly bright LED model.
I also took a few pictures with the camera aimed straight up, showing stars and with the clouds blurring a bit due to the 30 second exposure, but those were not very good.
I was driving over to Ben’s house this evening for a meeting. I had already taken a few pictures of my dinner. I know you all were hoping to see one of those, but as I turned off of Rt. 108 onto Fieldcrest Road, the sun was sinking into the west behind this line of power lines. I pulled off and took a dozen pictures of so. I don’t usually take industrial type pictures, although I also like them when I see them. This one turned out pretty well, though.
I took a few pictures in the back yard this afternoon but I wasn’t very happy with them. I had sort of resigned myself to posting a picture that I wasn’t particularly excited about. At a little after 6:00 I went to a dinner engagement and as I parked, the sky to the west was starting to get a deeper shade of blue and the clouds were quite lovely. So, you get a reprieve from a boring picture and get a beautiful western autumn sky in early autumn, instead. You cannot tell from this picture but just below the image is interstate 270. Not particularly lovely, but the noise wasn’t enough to counteract the beauty above.
We were up bright and early this morning and got off by about 6:20. We made good time and didn’t have any real traffic issues all the way to Boston. We dropped Dorothy off at school and then returned later for Catacombs, a service held in the chapel on Sunday evenings. Before that started, though, we enjoyed the beginning of the lunar eclipse. I had brought my tripod but unfortunately, I had removed a piece from it to use with a flash bracket and had forgotten the bring that, so the tripod was basically useless (I couldn’t attach the camera to it). In consequence, this is hand held, and therefore not nearly as sharp as I would like. Still, it’s pretty clear that there is a shadow beginning to cover the moon.
I did get some pictures of the rust colored moon during the total phase, but they are less sharp even than this, requiring exposures of more than half a second or so. Not worth posting, I’m afraid.
I’m still playing catch-up on my posts. This evening I was looking around for things to photograph. It was too dark to easily get pictures in the yard and I didn’t really have any ideas. Then, I was blessed with a subject that I didn’t have to go far to see.
The sun set into the west, as it tends to do, and the clouds lit up beautifully.
About an hour after I got up, I noticed that the light out front was quite warm colored. That often means there is a good sunrise but when I looked out the color, while pretty, was fairly flat and not really suited for a picture. I happened to look out the kitchen window (which faces west south west), and not only was the color about the same but there was a rainbow going all the way across the sky. I woke Cathy and we both enjoyed it for about fifteen minutes and (surprise!) I took a few pictures. Rainbows are somewhat hard to photograph well. They generally aren’t as bright in the picture as they seemed in real life. Also, the surrounding scenery usually comes out darker than it really was. This one turned out reasonably well, though.
It was a long and hard week although I’m not going to go into details here. Those who know us know what happened. Anyway, this morning my mom and I drove down to North Carolina for a family reunion. It was a long day, especially considering we drove home again afterward but I’m ever so glad we went. After a week like this, being with family is as good as it gets. I took a few pictures during the reunion (and passed the 110,000 mark on this camera), but I decided that I’d post this picture, taken shortly after we left, instead.
We’ve had some pretty spectacular sunrises at Ocean Isle Beach in past years. For instance, on July 31 of last year. The sunrises this year didn’t really rank up there but we only had two of them. Perhaps later in the week they were better. Nevertheless, I was up before sunrise (which was at 6:21 this morning) so I figured I should go out and take some pictures. This one turned out reasonably well. The clouds off to the right were pretty dramatic, at least.
An obvious difficulty when taking a photograph that includes the sun is that it’s fairly bright. I mean, that’s pretty obvious, I guess, but what do you do about it. It isn’t just bright, it is very, very bright. If you shorten the exposure so that the sun doesn’t overwhelm the photograph, then the rest of the sky becomes very dark.
One obvious thing to do is wait for a sunset when the sun is rendered darker due to atmospheric conditions. At times like that, the number of stops between the brightness of the sun and the sky is reduced to a more manageable amount. Even so, there is still a difference. I confess to cheating a little for this image. In the original the sun is nearly pure white, still having been overexposed a bit. But I took various exposures, including one that is three f/stops darker (1/3200 of a second instead of 1/400). The sun you see in this image came from the darker image, while the rest is from the lighter. It works, though, because that’s actually the way our eyes see the scene, having more dynamic range than camera sensors.
We had dinner with family this evening at a favorite Chinese restaurant and when we came out, the sky to the west was that wonderful, dark, almost-black, blue overhead fading to a paler blue towards the horizon. Jupiter and Venus were quite close together, seen here on the left a little above the center of the photo. In the other direction, the moon was quite beautiful and had Saturn visible right next to it.
Pretty much everywhere has sunsets. Same sun, even. Some places the atmospheric conditions are generally more conducive to pretty sunsets than others, but they can be fine wherever you are, if you are fortunate. We had a lovely sunset after dinner this evening after a rainbow before dinner. This is looking southeast, actually, which generally isn’t the direction for the best sunset pictures, but when you are in a town or city, sometimes you don’t have an uninterrupted view to the west and you have to make do. This will do, I think.
I hesitate to post another sunset but they seem to be popular. This one is a panorama made from three individual shots that I stitched together. They were taken in the horizontal aspect, where often I take a longer series of vertical shots. In this case the line of color was fairly narrow and with my 100mm lens, the shorter height of the images when horizontal was enough to get what I wanted. We were out in the upper part of the county for a birthday party for a friend when I noticed the color in the sky. I walked around to the front of the house and took these from the road, looking down the cul de sac to the west.
Cathy and I went down to Richmond for Dorothy’s graduation from her intern program today. In the evening, after a brief encounter with the historic Ebenezer (inside joke), we went to Brown’s Island and enjoyed the view of the James River. We saw egrets, herons, and quite a few ospreys, both flying and sitting on nests.
After that we had a pretty good dinner of barbecue at Alamo BBQ. As we finished eating the sun was sinking in the west and the sky was lighting up. We walked up into Jefferson Park where we had a pretty good view of the sunset over Richmond.
One of our favorite aspects of the celebration of Easter is the sunrise service at Fourth Presbyterian Church. For a long time Rock Creek didn’t have a sunrise service and in general doesn’t make as big a deal of Easter as some churches (and hardly mentions Palm Sunday at all). So, we go to the church where we met, and where Cathy’s mom still goes. Dorothy knows quite a few folks there, as well, having participated in their youth group quite a bit over the years.
Last year I set my alarm clock to the wrong time and we only got there as the service was almost over. Previous years we got it right and this year I got it right, again. It was a chilly 40°F this morning, which is cool but not really bitter and certainly not as cold as it has been in some previous years.
I only took a few pictures. It is a church service, after all. In the first few the sky is nearly black. A little later it was the most beautiful, luminous blue. This is one of the early pictures.
Our youth retreat was at Covenant Village again this year. I really like it there, especially the quiet. It was 18°F this morning when I got up though, which is more like a winter retreat than a spring retreat. There were clouds moving across the sky all day and it was quite lovely. To the south from the main meeting room there is a hilltop field that you can see through the trees. I went out to take pictures and the sun was shining on that spot and it looked quite nice, I thought.
This is an HDR (High Dynamic Range) photograph, made from three images taken at different exposures and then combined into one image. This process allows you to capture detail in shadows that would otherwise be black while still getting highlight details that would normally go pure white. Sometimes it it overdone and way too obvious. For all I know, this is one of those times, but I think it’s a pretty picture, anyway.
The sky was a beautiful blue this morning but was criscrossed with contrails from a bunch of jets, either coming to or leaving from one of the local airports. I don’t know where everyone is going but there were a lot this morning.
This is the view from our kitchen door at about 7:15 a.m. It made me want to travel. Just get on a plane and go anywhere. I’m not particular, I’d be happy to be anywhere else.
The forecasters all got this one about right. It’s been relatively warm so it didn’t really stick to paved surfaces but the grass was covered and it was another beautiful morning. After the last snowfall and then the warmer weather, I think most folks around here were ready for winter to be over but we got this one, last dusting just to remind us that it can snow in the spring, as well. Because it didn’t affect traffic and I didn’t have to worry about shoveling the driveway, I was perfectly happy to enjoy this snowfall.
It’s been feeling decidedly springlike for a little while now and with the period of daylight hours shifted to a bit later in the day, we had some time after work to go for a walk in the neighborhood. Of course I brought my camera, just in case, but I only took a handful of pictures. As we were heading back home, walking to the west, the sun was setting through the trees.
Are you getting tired of all these sunsets? I know they are beautiful, and all that, but is too much of a good thing a bad thing? If so, I can stop, or at least slow down a little. It does seem that they come in waves. We’ll have wonderful sunsets or beautiful sun rises for three or four days in a week, then we won’t have one again for a month. Not sure why that is. Still, I generally don’t complain when they come along. I quite like them, really. I opened the back door and took a bunch, including this one, this evening. While I was doing that, Cathy, who had stayed a bit late at work, called to say there was a great sunset. Yep, I noticed.
I wasn’t sure what I’d have a chance to get photographs of today. Cathy and I were heading from work out to Potomac because the president of Gordon College was in town and we had been invited to meet him, along with other prospective and potential students and their parents. It happened to be at the home of some friends of ours. We stopped at the library to return some books and I waited outside, enjoying the clouds, quickly moving across the sky.
When Cathy came back outside, we had about 45 minutes before we needed to be there and we didn’t fell like getting there early. So, we drove to MacArthur Boulevard and then down to Old Angler’s Inn and walked down to the C&O Canal. It was a bit muddy and we were not really dressed for hiking but we walked up the tow path a little way to a spot across from Sherwin Island. We watched the sun go down and light up the clouds.
As we walked back, I kept turning around and taking pictures. As I crossed the bridge over the tow path, I took these two shots. the first of them, above, is (obviously) looking up through the trees to the west. The second, to the right, is looking down into the cold, still waters of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. I couldn’t decide which I liked better. I think they are both pretty nice, so, I’m posting them both.
If you know me, you’ll be surprised to learn that I didn’t take any pictures at the meeting with the folks from Gordon.
Last Wednesday I posted a picture that turned out to be fairly popular, if the comments and “likes” on Instagram and Facebook are anything to go by. In that picture (see: Fog Amid The Trees, March 04, 2015) there was a beech tree against a backdrop of tree trunks. This evening is was actively raining, not just foggy, but the effect in the woods was very similar. Like last week, traffic was a bit slow in spots and as I waited to move I took a few pictures out the window. I don’t think this one is quite as good as last week’s and I really should know better than to try to reproduce something that’s already worked, but here you are.
I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I’m posting pictures of snow today. The forecast was pretty accurate, with the snow starting to fall at about 7:00 a.m. and coming down pretty steadily until the late evening. In all we had about seven and a half inches of new snow, piling up on top of about five inches that was already on the ground and covered with a layer of ice.
Early in the afternoon Cathy and I walked to the grocery store. On the way, I took a few pictures of her with the gently falling snow swirling all around. She also took a couple snaps of me, but I’ll spare you those. Actually, in them I am wearing the same jacket and hat as in the picture on the Who I Am page. That photo was also taken during a snow storm, although it was from quite twelve years ago, on February 16, 2003. I really suppose I should have a more recent picture of myself. I’ll get on that.
The second photo here is of Norbeck Road with the snow coming down. It was falling quite steadily but the wind was not terribly strong. Walking home it was blowing into our faces, though, which did make the return trip a bit more taxing. We were gone about an hour and enjoyed being out. It was nice, though, to have a warm, dry home to come back to.
We truly are blessed.
Driving home today there was a disabled vehicle with a police cruiser blocking one lane of Norbeck Road. That slowed things down considerably, as you might imagine. It did give me more time to enjoy the foggy woods above Rock Creek. Because I was stopped a fair amount, I was able to take a few pictures. They don’t perfectly capture the mood, but I think this one is pretty good, especially with the added color of the beech tree in the foreground.
I suppose technically this is a sub-urban sunset, as we were in the suburbs, but it’s certainly not a rural sunset. We were in Rockville, paying a visit to Second Story Books this afternoon. As we left the sun was sinking into the west (as it does most days) and the sky was turning orange. There was no way we were going to get somewhere wide open for a beautiful vista so we pulled into the parking lot of a local business establishment (Aladdin Carpet & Floors, to be precise), and I took a few pictures through the power lines and construction equipment across the street.
As I was driving home today the eastern sky in front of me was quite beautiful with a line of clouds running almost due east-west straight ahead. I took a couple pictures of it as I was stopped in traffic. Then, I stopped at Safeway to pick up a few things. The western sky, over the top of the shopping center, only had a few small clouds but they were quite lovely. With my long lens and standing up on the side of my car to get a little higher up and over the foreground distractions, I was able to get this picture. By the time I got out of the store, not only was the sun down but all the clouds had moved off and the sky was a brilliant, deep, indigo blue.
It was pretty cool out when we got home late this evening. The wind was blowing and it was clear, with only a few clouds quickly moving across the sky. Orion was setting over our house and I got my tripod and went out to take some pictures. You can see his belt, the three stars Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, running horizontally across the middle of the picture. The bright star at the top of this picture is Betelgeuse (Orion’s right shoulder). The star closest to our roof is Rigel. Other stars are Meissa, Bellatrix, and Saiph. Sirius in Canis Major, the brightest star in the night sky, is just over the top of the tree to the left in this picture.
It has been cold a bit lately and there is snow and ice on the ground. This evening I was looking out the window of my home office and seeing different patterns of ice on the window. This somewhat abstract image, which I named “Winter Sun”, is actually the out-of-focus light of a street lamp shining on the ice riming the window pane and seen through the screen. The image was much more orange as taken but I adjusted the white balance to get a cooler, bluer color, more evocative of the winter landscape.
Shortly after we got home from Richmond yesterday there was a really nice sunset. Because I already posted three photos from Saturday and because sunsets aren’t terribly rare, I decided not to post any of them. Today the sunset wasn’t quite as spectacular but still pretty nice, so, today you get a sunset picture. That’s the way it goes.
It was a bit chilly this morning, somewhere around 18°F At about 7:00 I noticed that there was a bit of color in the western sky. I grabbed my camera and then paused long enough to put on my shoes. I figured I might be out for a little while and under 20°F I usually wear shoes if I’m doing more than grabbing the mail. It was a wonderful sunrise, as you can see (this is to the east, of course). With the rain and snow we’ve been having it was very welcome.
After taking the previous picture, of the rainbow on our family room carpet, Cathy and I went for a walk in the neighborhood. It’s been a bit cool out and even I wore a sweater and gloves (don’t be shocked—when it’s less than 20°F, even I’ll wear a bit more if I’m going to be out for a while).
As we walked east, the waxing gibbous moon was rising through the trees and I stopped long enough to take a handful of pictures. This one turned out best, the others being a little dark.
The sky was mostly clear today, at least late in the day. As I was driving home, watching the sun set in the rear-view mirror, I could see a bit of color very low in the sky but other than that, there were just a few small clouds high in the sky. I didn’t have time to get anywhere that I could both stop and have a good view of the horizon. I stopped for a few groceries, though and the few clouds overhead started to turn color. So, here’s a solitary cloud, lit up by the setting sun. Not your spectacular, all-encompassing sunset, but pretty, nonetheless.
As I was leaving work it looked like a good sunset was shaping up. The sky was partly cloudy with clouds moving across an otherwise brilliantly blue sky. I got to my new sunset location with about ten minutes to spare before the clouds really started to light up. Of course, the best sunsets generally need the sun lighting the clouds from below, which means it’s a very brief thing as the sun drops below the horizon. This evening, unfortunately, there were clouds blocking the sun at that point, so this is as bright as it got. It was beautiful but not everything it could have been. But I couldn’t complain. I was outdoors on a wonderfully lovely evening enjoying a fleeting glimpse of solar splendor.
It was nearly 70°F yesterday but as we were driving home from Richmond it began to rain. By the time we got home (about 9:30 p.m.) it was below 50°F. This morning it was not much above freezing most of the day and by the evening it was fairly cold. On the way home I found a good spot for taking sunset pictures. I’ll need to plan on coming home that way when a sunset is in the offing. This is a panorama of five images stitched together quickly (and not necessarily expertly, but they look pretty good). I got a few individual images with a line of geese flying across, as well, but I decided I like the panorama best.
It was a beautiful, if cool, day today and this was the view out our kitchen door at about 4:30 p.m. Not bad. Sometimes I wish we lived somewhere a bit less built up, somewhere a bit more natural and scenic. But there is plenty of beauty where we live and it’s important to be on the lookout for it. Sometimes it hits you when you least expect it. In this case, I happened to mention to Dorothy that I hadn’t taken any pictures yet. She said, “you should look out the back door, then” (or something to that effect). Yep, worth it.
Well, the forecast was for snow. I thought it was supposed to be overnight but when I got up this morning, it had only been raining. It seemed to be on the edge of freezing as I came in to work. Later in the morning I got an email from my brother George saying there was a dusting on the ground in New Jersey. Albert replied that it looked about the same here. That’s when I turned around and saw the snow for the first time. I guess I was concentrating on what I was doing.
This wasn’t any sort of record in terms of earliest and certainly not the heaviest but it was still rather early and rather heavy for this area. It was coming down quite hard for a while, although it never really stuck to the roads, just to grassy areas and on cars.
I was out this evening and just before coming home I enjoyed looking at the moon for a while. It was fairly high in the sky at this point (about 9:30 PM) and there were clouds speeding across the sky, creating a broad glow around it. Clouds lit by the moon are quite beautiful but very difficult to photograph. Our eyes are such amazing things and anyone who thinks there are no improvements to be made in camera design hasn’t stopped to think. The moon is so bright compared to the clouds lit by its reflected light. To our eyes, the clouds are just a little dimmer than the moon but a camera isn’t fooled and isn’t so capable. To get the moon exposed correctly, you have to stop down enough for daylight. But the clouds are not in daylight and they go black, regardless of how bright they seem. To expose the clouds well, the moon becomes a washed out blob. So, no picture of the clouds and the moon this time.
Instead, here is a tree, just about ready to sleep the winter away. It is lit by the light from the moon in this 15 second exposure. Here’s something that the camera can do that we cannot—store up the light into one big packet and see in the dark.
In November of last year (Sunday, November 03, 2013, to be precise) I took a picture that I titled “Autumn’s Chapel.” It was of Zelkova serrata trees that line a busy road near where we live. Today’s picture is of the same trees, this time lit by the late afternoon sun. The photo is a bit dark in the lower portion, but I didn’t have a lot of time to adjust the camera. As you can see, there is oncoming traffic and I needed to get the picture and then move.
We had a slow drive to Virginia this afternoon, taking over two hours to get through the first 60 miles and a third hour for the second 60. Shortly before the traffic eased up we stopped at a rest area. The sun was setting and the clouds were quite lovely. The higher clouds were still lit by the setting sun but there was a layer of clouds much lower that were already in the shadow of the turning earth. Those dark clouds were set off against the bright, higher clouds and made a wonderful tapestry in the sky. Certainly a nice break from interstate 95 traffic.
I was just about ready to leave for youth group at church when I noticed that the light outside was amazing. You know how sometimes, just before dusk, the sky lights up with a warm glow? Well, that was going on. So I grabbed my camera to try to get a picture of that light shining on the tops of the trees out front. When I got outside, however, I found this rainbow waiting for me, so I took pictures of that, instead, against the backdrop of brightly colored clouds. I took just a few pictures with that lens, then came in to switch to the wide angle so I could get more of the rainbow. By the time I came back out, the brightness had faded a bit and before I had taken three more pictures, the rainbow was gone.
It was a foggy evening as I drove home from work today. Fog is a funny thing, when it comes to taking pictures. It rarely looks the same in the picture as it did when you took it. Also, the temptation is to increase the contrast, which ruins the effect. In this case, this is about what it looked like on the way home, taken with my do-it-yourself (or did-it-myself) dash-cam. I do like a soft, foggy evening (or morning, or night), actually.
I was on my way to church this evening and there was a beautiful sunset. Unfortunately, my drive to church has very few good places to stop and see the western horizon. Because traffic on our normal route is heavy and slow this time of the evening, I went the back way, which does go over the top of a hill and give one or two quick glimpses to the west. I stopped the car briefly to take a very few pictures and this one turned out to be pretty good, I think. There is actually the top board of a fence running across the bottom but because all the ground has gone to black, it doesn’t hurt the picture.
Yes, another sunset. This time I’m sitting at the light at MD 355 watching the traffic go by and enjoying the sunset colors. In this picture, I’m actually looking almost due north, well away from the setting sun, so you can see that the amount of color in the sky is impressive. It was a beautiful sunset, lighting up the entire sky. I even took a picture or two looking to the west in my rear-view mirror, although those are not particularly good, photographically.
It’s shaping up to be a very busy week (and since I’m writing this after the fact, I can tell you that it was). I was fortunate to be able to head home before it was completely dark today. I took this from the road, while waiting at a light to turn green. After the last sunset picture I posted, I’m glad to be able to post a proper sunset again, with the bright colors that we all love in a sunset. This is a great time of year for them, so keep your camera (or these days, your phone) ready.
Correction: This was not taken on the way home, that was tomorrow’s picture. We were on our way out to dinner with Cathy’s mom for her birthday and stopped on Perry Parkway to take this picture.
As sunset pictures go, I guess this is a bit weak. We expect sunset pictures to be bright and bold. This isn’t. It’s dusky and muted. That’s the sort of day it was, and that’s the sort of picture I got. Not a terrible picture, I suppose, but it isn’t going to catch and hold your attention.
Anyway, this is September 17, 2014. Good evening.
I was just about caught up, posting the last few pictures the day they were taken or early the following day. Then it got very busy at work and I had a very hard time keeping up with everything, so this slipped. As I write this on September 26, I have finally gotten around to taking pictures off my camera from September 13 through 23. I’ll try to get caught up again. Anyway, there was a pretty sunset this evening as I was cooking dinner and I went out back for a few pictures. Most of the color was seen behind the trees but there were a few bright areas of open sky.
It got quite warm yesterday, topping 90°F, but today was cooler and the sky was a glorious blue with fabulous layers of light clouds scattered across it. It was a long day for me, having a dentist appointment and then part of a work day, followed by a round trip to Richmond, returning by way of Baltimore, which isn’t really on the way. Because of all that I didn’t take many pictures but this is one of a few I took from my car while waiting at a traffic light.
I took a few pictures this evening although I can’t say that they are very interesting. It rained again this evening and as the sun was getting low in the sky, the whole area took on a beautiful, slightly yellow glow. This photograph doesn’t really do it justice and of course it’s just a photo of our neighborhood, so not a lot to look at, but perhaps it will give you some idea. If you’ve ever seen this, then you know what I’m talking about and maybe you’ll appreciate it. Anyway, this is all I have today.
Dorothy drove us to church this evening, freeing me up to take some pictures while we were on our way. The sun was low in the sky, so I put the long lens on and took a few pictures when I had a break in the trees. It’s not the sort of sunset picture that’s going to win any awards. In general, I recommend finding a good location, stopping the car, and setting up a picture like this, but sometimes you have to take what you can get. Considering how it was taken, though, I think it’s reasonably pretty
It was another gorgeous day today, again a bit warming, up near 90°F, but a fabulous, blue sky with a few scattered clouds. As the sun dropped into the west the sky darkened to an even prettier, deeper blue. Then the clouds began to light up with a wonderful orange color.
This was the view out our kitchen door at two minutes to eight. Not bad, eh?
Those of you who follow me on the various social media outlets of the interwebs have already seen a picture of this sunrise, which I took on my phone and posted the morning of July 31. Unsurprisingly, I took some pictures with my “real” camera, as well, and I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out, as well. It’s actually somewhat amazing how good the phone pictures is, but there are still things I can do with my Canon that the Samsung won’t quite manage.
I was going through the images I took and trying to decide which I like best, which is sometimes really easy. Today, though, there were two that I liked and I was having a hard time picking between them. On the one hand, I think this vertical photo is the better image of the sun, the reflection, and the waves. On the other hand, I really like the bird in the first one. In fact, I was thinking about cropping that down to just have the bird, the streak of light from the sun, and the top of the wave coming up the beach. I may do that yet for a card, but this is the whole image.
This is the third and final sunrise that I’ll post from Ocean Isle this year. They were all quite different from one another, which is, I think, one of the things we find so fascinating about sunrises. That and their evanescence. They have to be enjoyed in the moment, because they don’t wait, evaporating like a morning mist. Pictures are nice, of course, but they don’t hold a candle to the real thing. Standing in the waves of the Atlantic, feeling the cool, morning breeze on my face, and seeing the colors and movement of those waves, most of that is lost in the photograph.
The last photo from another busy day. This one isn’t as spectacular as the thunderstorm photo from last night, but I’m still pretty pleased with it. Dorothy suggested that I go out and take some pictures, because the southern sky was so clear and the Milky Way was clearly visible. Well, clear is relative and this was clear if you are used to the east cost of North America, anyway. This was taken with settings similar to last night’s, with the ISO set to 640, f/3.5 and 30 seconds. The lens was a 10–20mm zoom, at 10mm, so a fairly wide angle (that’s equivalent to 16mm on an old 35mm camera, for anyone who actually remembers those). This picture was harder to deal with in terms of “noise.” If I reduced it enough to matter, I lost a lot of the detail in the Milky Way. So, here’s an even better reason to want a full frame SLR. And a trip to the dry, much clearer and darker parts of the country, preferably on the top of a mountain. Still, it’s the best Milky Way picture I’ve ever taken (though that’s not saying much).
After the dark, deeply colored sunrise I took on July 28, today’s was very different. There wasn’t a lot of pink, orange, or red in the sky, just a little around the sun. But the clouds were quite pretty and nicely reflected in the water washing up on the beach. Also, after two days of 90°F plus heat, I woke up to about 70°F this morning. It warmed up later in the day but never really got above about 82°F. It was much less humid, as well. Beautiful.
After seeing the beautiful rainbow and then going out to take pictures of the receding storm over the ocean, I figured that was all the pictures I’d take for the day. I did go next door to snap a few pictures of my aunt and uncle and their family, a group of 18. As I came out from that, I was greeted with a beautiful sight. Even this photograph, which I think it pretty amazing, doesn’t capture the real beauty. The sky would be dark. Then, lightning in the clouds out to sea would light them up, sometimes just providing light to the clouds, other times accompanied by streaks of lightning between the clouds and the sea or horizontally between clouds. I set up my camera on a tripod and took a bunch of exposures at various settings. This one was ISO 8