Thursday, August 29, 2013


Pumpjack: Also called nodding donkey, pumping unit, horsehead pump, rocking horse, beam pump, dinosaur, sucker rod pump (SRP), grasshopper pump, jack pump, and my personal favorite, thirsty bird pump. Whatever you call them, they seem to be getting rare in Orange County these days. This one is up by the Summit House restaurant in Fullerton, California.
Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Gimme a Hug!

Been using my telephoto lens for close-up sunset shots. I like how it makes the sun look gigantic! It just gives it a different look and feel, especially since I am used to a 17mm wide angle. Anyway, here's a recent shot I like... kinda looks like the spiny Joshua Tree is hugging the sun!
I used Photoshop to take a similar photo and "desaturate" everything but the sun. Makes the sun look like a big orange!
Linking with 
Orange You Glad It's Friday
Have a great weekend!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Walkin' the Dog

My wife and I have our desert homestead project going on in 29 Palms, so we are regular shoppers at the Home Depot in Yucca Valley in the high desert of Southern California. We pass right by it on our drive in. Our usual tactic: My wife walks the dog while I run in and buy supplies. But we noticed dogs going in and out of the store with their owners. Turns out dogs are welcome in the store!! Can't say I've ever been in any other Home Depot and noticed people with their dogs, so trying to figure out if it's just this one particular store that allows dogs. Kind of a strange experience walking our chihuahua in the Home Depot, but I must say, she seems to enjoy it!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Watching the Meteors!

Last weekend was supposed to be one of the best of the year for meteor watching. We went out to 29 Palms on Friday night, and I got the smart idea to set up my camera on "remote control" and let it do all the work while I slumbered through the night, hoping I might get lucky and catch a random meteor.  I have a shutter activator that you can program (delay, interval between exposures, and total number of exposures).  So about 10 PM I set up my tripod outside my bedroom door and pointed my camera toward the Milky Way.  I set the delay for about 5 hours (somewhere I read the best sky shots are between about 3 AM and 4 AM, and that's a good time for meteors as well), set the delay time between exposures for 3 minutes, and set the number of exposures for 30.  Then I set up my camera: f/2.8, 20 second exposure, ISO 1600, 16mm wide angle. As I went to bed, I crossed my fingers my camera would still be there in the morning! (we're pretty remote, so fairly safe to do this). Thankfully my camera was still there on Saturday AM.  I anxiously checked to see what I captured, and I had 30 photos more or less identical to this one:
I got pretty excited because I thought that streak you see across the Milky Way must be a meteor. However, I'm pretty sure it's just a plane. Either way, a good shot of the Milky Way considering it's right outside my bedroom door. Next, I layered all 30 photos in Photoshop. With the exposures spaced 3 minutes apart, the stars become a series of dots as they move across the sky, and the Milky Way disappears! Very cool!!
On Saturday night after the sun set, we packed up the Jeep, found a secluded road in the park, and relaxed under the stars, scanning the heavens for shooting meteors.
Hard to tell from this dark, grainy photo, but that's my wife and I and our chihuahua lying on cots under the beautiful Milky Way sky in Joshua Tree. A fun way to spend a couple hours!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summertime Fun

My daughter and granddaughter at the neighbor's pool... simple pleasures, fun times!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Watching the Sun Drop: Six Photos in 13 Minutes

Bumping along on a dirt road in Joshua Tree last Saturday (7/27/13), I liked the look of the sun dropping behind this cloud...
7:38 PM:  105mm, f14, 1/200sec, ISO 125
A few short minutes later, the sun was below the cloud, and I'm thinking, that's probably it for the night. Wife and I got in the car and drove down the road...
7:41PM; 105mm; f/14, 1/125sec; ISO 125
Six minutes later, things looked interesting. Stoped the car, lens change (70 - 200mm) and started shooting again...
7:47PM; 200mm; f/10; 1/100sec; ISO 125
Put on the 2x extender to get in even closer...
7:48PM; 400mm; f/10; 1/125sec; ISO 250
7:50PM; 400mm; f/10; 1/250sec; ISO 250
7:51PM; 400mm; f/8' 1/250sec; ISO 250
Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world!!