23 Aug 11. A goal prior to departing the long term stay across the Sound and the house wiring was to get a couple usable images of the neon sign hanging in a window in the Hansville grocery. Thursday was my last opportunity, the weather was perfect, and I decided it was a now or never type (not in reality - the store isn't going away) situation and so I left some good company and conversation and went outside to shoot. The moment I exited to the outside I was almost awestruck by a 3/4 harvest moon rising above the water's surface and lighting the Sound with an orange stripe. I hurried to my "room" to get the camera and set it up for a long exposure series of shots. By the time I had everything fully set up the moon was a considerable way up the horizon, not nearly so big and a fair amount brighter. But not all that bright that the harvest orange color was lost, but now bright enough that two exposures were necessary to capture the scene. As I was looking at the moon I was quite surprised to see how much it looked like it was just pasted in front of the clouds, and you will see such in the image. Not sure what has caused this "look", but it helped to make it a very impressive sight. ISO 200; 4 sec @ f /10 for the city lights and 1/8 sec @ f /10 for the moon. Just a 6 stop range but enough that no single shot worked; may have to try this with an HDR approach next time I have this small a range.
24 Aug 11. I mentioned yesterday that my intent was to photograph a particular sign when I noticed the harvest moon and got diverted for a while from my main intent. Well, here is the sign that was my particular intent albeit altered a "wee" bit. The sign itself is reasonably interesting hanging as it does in the store front window, but not nearly so much as it is with a little help. I played with the original image for quite a while trying out different approaches playing with shape, hue, and intensity. In the end I settled for two different results and, after looking at them for a couple of days, decided I like this one best, but just by a little. I tried to create the effect using HDR techniques but was not able to achieve the look I wanted, so I tried a couple different filters and settled on, to which none of you should be surprised, my favorite filter, Fractalius. The one BIG problem with this filter is the thousands of possible combinations available which means that choosing the "one" correct effect for any single image is rather time consuming. Still, I feel the time spent is well rewarded. For those of you who like the manipulated images, this should be a winner; for those of you who don't, this might be a mixed bag as it is a bright object of limited colors to begin with, being a neon sign. Playing with such an object in some ways does not change it all that much, although changing it was my goal. ISO 200; 1/6 sec on a tripod @ f /10.
25 Aug 11. A beautiful autumnal day was the best description I can give for Wednesday, starting with a crisp morning giving way to a gloriously sunny and lazy afternoon followed by an evening of cooler weather. Driving down the access road to the property one cannot but be aware of the number of leaves falling from the trees, nor the fact that many are now beginning to turn color, some quite the way along while others are just beginning to show a blush of what lies ahead. The presence of the sun all day made be think of things of that color, which brought to mind some images made last July of California Poppies in our front yard area. On one particular morning they were brandishing a fair amount of moisture, and something like that I just can't, and couldn't, pass by, so I took a couple dozen shots and found that more than one was worth keeping. This obviously would be among the keepers. It does appear as though the weight of the dew was sufficient to request a bit of engineering help, and you can see the suspension lines kindly provided by a local civil engineering expert as a result of said request. Seems like they were just the ticket and were functioning as designed to keep the blossom properly positioned. ISO 200; 1/500 sec @ f /10.