Well, I’ve Got The Extra Hour

Body’s tired and feeling a little beat up, but my brain isn’t ready to go to sleep I guess. It’s a little after 2am on Sunday morning… πŸ€” Oh, wait a minute… πŸ˜… no it’s not. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Just looked down at my phone to see the exact time – and hooray for “fall back” tonight, eh? Still being awake at 1am doesn’t feel nearly as bad as still being awake at 2am. 😏 Heh… it’s just that typical thing that happens after vacation. In this case the vacation came to me, but you know what I mean – you get the nice distraction from reality for a while, then when vacation is over and things have to go back to normal, it just takes a little while to adjust. 😟

It’s silly, but because I don’t generally do a heck of a lot with my time… I mean, when it comes to going out and doing things… so when Gen was here, even if I wasn’t necessarily part of all of the plans for the day, I still felt like I was “doing something” with my day. πŸ™‚Β It’s just been a while since I’ve had to coordinate a few of my days with anyone else, whether that coordinating involved me doing something or involved me avoiding it instead. πŸ˜… Granted, my lack of “doing stuff” is usually because I’m either hurting or wanting to avoid hurting… but with the right company, I don’t mind it quite as much for a couple of days. But yeah, Sunday… Monday… πŸ€” they’ll probably be a couple of “nothing” days so I can regenerate from the visit and get my thoughts back on track when it comes to the stuff I want or need to do. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

On Friday she woke up early to do something with friends in Logan, but then once she got back here we went out and picked up Bri and Bryson to go in town for a bit. Stopped off at Walmart, and as we were all checking out (and this happens more than you’d think) the cashier lady mistook me for Bryson’s dad. 😁 I was standing behind the cart, entertaining him so he wouldn’t fuss until we left, but when I moved to the front of the line to pay for my stuff – he started crying… and cashier lady said “Aww, see he wants his daddy.” 😏 I just played along, joking that she was right and that Bryson wasn’t a mama’s boy. It actually caught me off guard this time though, ‘cuz I wasn’t shaved, and I’m pretty sure I was lookin’ my actual age… 😊 but it’s still amusing.

That evening Gen made plans to meet with Toni, Matt, and Anna for dinner, but I just didn’t have the oomph for it… and that was before I found out Wendi and her Matt were there as well. 😯 I kinda felt bad for dipping out, but I just didn’t have that couple hours of “social” in me that late. (I did appreciate her bringing a cheeseburger and fries home for me right before midnight though.)Β Despite needing to get up stupid early the next day, she wasn’t sleepy yet due to all the socializing so we squeezed in another episode of Doctor Who before she hit the sack. πŸ€“πŸ“ΊπŸ‘±πŸ»β€β™€οΈ That made four episodes since she got here – which should be enough to either hook her, or to know that it’s not her kinda thing. 😏 I always try to convert people.

Saturday morning… she was up and out shortly after the crack of dawn, on her way to some horseback riding near Moonville with a friend, and not only did I not wake up when she left – but I didn’t even fully wake up until noon. 😐 There’s a chatty cat that comes to visit (outside) and tries to play on my emotions as it’s getting colder around here, so I agreed with her suggestion of making a little “kitty house” out of a big ol’Β Rubbermaid tub from the basement – so that was my mini-project for the afternoon. Time was starting to get tight though, so rather than fussing with the mailboxes or the bags of gravel, we decided to go out and visit Dad for a bit before it started to get dark. πŸ™‚ OutsideKitty had vanished by then though, but that’s good… gives me a little more time to finish up the tub and find some suitable soft stuff to use as the base for when I put it out on the back porch for him. πŸ˜ΊπŸ™„

Dad seemed like he felt better today. Like half the people I know though, he’s been fighting a shitty cough and “bleh” feeling, but it’s either starting to get better or our visit was just a nice distraction from thinking about it. 😁 Unfortunately we couldn’t stay there too long, ‘cuz I had to get Genesee up to Columbus (to Chad and Shannon’s place) and try to get back home before it was dark dark. 😳 Sounds like an “old person thing” but I just prefer to not drive at night with these “backup pair of a backup pair” glasses that I’m currently stuck with. πŸ˜• I can cheat during the daytime with my Rx shades that are one prescription “more current” at least.

But yeah, as quickly as she arrived, she’s now up there and will be heading home in a few hours. 😟 (So glad that Chad can help with getting her to the airport at 4am today. Oy.) She was busy nearly the entire time she was in town, not including the house downtime for watching Doctor Who, looking at old pics/vids, etc… but I definitely envy the way she was able to tackle her self-imposed schedule. 😊 I suppose it’s easier when it’s stuff that a person actually wants to do… but she can wake up and be out the door, ready to go, in minutes – while I need an hour just to wake up enough to decide that I’m about ready to wake up. πŸ˜‹Β (Actually, it’s more about letting the morning meds kick in, so I can at least partially function like a human being…) But it was nice to see that even with the limited time here, she still managed to do most of the stuff that she planned.

Usually Unnoticed

No clouds this evening, and I think there’s still at least one “named” meteor shower that’s supposed to be going on, so I went ahead and sat the phone out front for a couple of hours tonight. But instead of grainy long exposure shots, this time I just used Skyflow’s time-lapse video mode, taking a photo every 1/3 of a second, with the “light trail” setting at 20 seconds. The resulting video caught one shooting star at the very beginning, and then a bunch of planes after that. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Nothing impressive, but rather kinda peaceful… 😌

(Video is 4K UHD, 30fps, and best viewed full-screen. I cut out a lot of the “dead air” so it’s mostly light trail stuff…)

No Skill/Participation Required

I really wish I could take credit for what I’ve thrown together in this little clip, but the extent of my participation in capturing these three clips was setting a few things on the camcorder, pressing record, then slowly backing away and leaving it alone while it did its thing. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ The first clip suffers from a huge amount of chromatic aberration – something that I can’t do a damn thing about – but I hadn’t recorded the moon going behind the trees before, so I didn’t realize how bad it could be affected by it. πŸ˜• I probably shouldn’t have pointed it out, ‘cuz now that’s all you’ll see.Β Β 

The second clip was a time-lapse at 20 second intervals… and yeah, I knew the clouds would be moving way too fast to be “peaceful” looking, but I wanted to show the motion of the moon across the sky in that particular clip. πŸ€”πŸ€“ β˜οΈβ˜οΈπŸŒ•πŸ’¨Β And then the third, it’s much like the first, just using less zoom – and unfortunately the camcorder just struggles to maintain the correct brightness level, so unless you’re zoomed in with the 80x digital you’re just not gonna be able to get the detail of the surface. πŸ˜’

But with this last test, I think I’ve kinda done all that I need to do when it comes to shooting the moon (*giggle*) or working with time-lapse videos of the sky, whether in the day, evening, or night. Meaning, there’s not much more new that I can do without leaving the yard… so I’ll probably put these projects on the back burner for a while, until I’m feeling in good enough shape to actually take the show on the road and set up for something with a more scenic view. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ Figuring out this stuff helps to temporarily take away some of the stress I’ve been feeling lately… really looking at this stuff, realizing how small we are, and how vast “everything” truly is. 😌 But yeah, back to boring and/or bitching posts after this, I guess… πŸ˜…

Alternate Tests

So… no clouds tonight, so no “clouds zipping past the moon” time-lapse test was possible. However, with the sky as clear as it was, I figured I’d try a different app for my phone that let me set the ISO to 64, the exposure to 30 seconds, and let it run for about an hour and a half – capturing images of the SW sky with the top of my house and some trees in the frame for a bit of context. It was a success in theory, since I now know how to get all my settings right to capture stars and planets – but since the moon was lighting up the sky, it left everything looking washed out. But yeah, I can see potential in this method…

Then the other thing I tried was an 80x digital zoom time-lapse of the moon as it crossed the field of view of the camera. Another thing that I should have realized, was at that zoom level – the motion of the moon would be visible enough to the eye in real-time… so doing a time-lapse with a one second interval made it cross through the frame way too fast. πŸ€”πŸ˜’ So, that’s why this looks all jerky… it’s actually a time-lapse that was slowed to 1/4 of its original speed. But again, decent test – which unfortunately reveals there’s not enough manual control available in this camcorder for exposure and brightness. You’ll see how it comes into the frame overexposed, looks good for a bit, and then gets blown out again as it exits the frame. Still, pretty good for a cheap ass digital camcorder. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ™‚ (And another nice distraction for the evening…)

Don’t forget to click the little HD icon as well as making it full screen for the best result. πŸ€“πŸ˜Ž

Creeping Beauty

Lately I’ve just been using my phone to capture various (weather-based) time-lapse videos, long exposures, lightning, etc… πŸ˜―πŸ“·β˜οΈβ˜οΈπŸŒ©οΈβ˜οΈ basically anything that can be done a few steps from my front door, which unfortunately is about the extent of my “hobby of photography” at the moment. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

But last night after the lightning clouds passed through, I decided to grab my camcorder to remind myself what it’s capable of when it comes to low light and time-lapse video. πŸ“ΉπŸ€” Now, when I say camcorder, what you’re picturing is probably not what I’m actually talking about. It’s a JVC digital camcorder with 40x optical zoom, 80x “decent” digital zoom, and then some ridiculous 800x digital zoom that makes everything look like garbage. πŸ˜… But it shoots in 1080p/30 HD and saves to a standard SD memory card, so it’s good enough tech for what I’d want to use it for.

The video below… it’s theΒ firstΒ true test of that camcorder in a couple of years. I just slowed the shutter as much as possible, boosted the exposure, tried to manually focus it properly (since it will lose and regain focus over and over in the dark), and then set the time-lapse interval to 5 seconds. πŸ€“πŸ˜’ I didn’t realize, when I pressed record, how fast the clouds were already moving… so from now on I’ll shoot with an interval of one second and then just speed it up if necessary. But yeah, this is what I ended up with…

(You might need to click the little “HD” and “Full Screen” in the bottom right for highest quality)

It was a full moon last night, and will look essentially the same tonight, so I’m gonna go ahead and charge her up in case I’m awake that late – to where I can plop it out in the back yard, hit record, and let it run until the batteries are empty. πŸŒβ˜οΈπŸ“ΉπŸ€“πŸ€žπŸ» Right now, in the afternoon, there is a good mix of open sky and random clouds… so we’ll see if that stays true through the evening and into the early morning hours.

The storm came along at the right time last night to distract me from my “meh” thoughts of the day, to where I just let myself get lost in watching the ominous looking clouds and lightning as they approached from the distance. 😌 (It’s in my DNA… πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I just love severe weather.) The rain did me a favor, so I didn’t even have to scramble to grab my phone (or the camcorder) before it all got soaked once the storm got here… since it never actually got here, passing just to the south instead. πŸ˜³πŸ™‚

So, wish me luck… gonna try to capture somethin’ perty tonight. 😌 And God willing, if I start feeling good enough and my motivation returns for at least a few nights, maybe I’ll actually go out somewhere to do a similar experiment. Somewhere more “scenic” than home. 🀨 The views from my house are fine… they’re just a little bit cluttered due to trees, nearby buildings, power/cable lines, etc… on top of the stray, unwanted light from cars’ headlights as they pass by. πŸ€”πŸ˜’

So yeah, even though I’ve done a ton of these over the years, I’m counting everything as “testing” still… 😏

Predicted? Or Jinxed…

Stayed up late last night, not only trying to get some pics of the lightning, but also watching the delayed Southern 500 which didn’t finish until 2am. I had a feeling… wasn’t really sleepy even at that hour, my neck was feeling different, so I didn’t end up falling asleep for good until around 4a – and at that, it was with the idea of trying to “sleep carefully” so I didn’t wake up with my neck feeling even worse. πŸ˜’ It worked, but only because every time I would stir in my sleep, I’d wake up a little too much – making sure that I wasn’t being rough on my neck. Meh… so five hours of not-so-solid sleep… not in the greatest mood today.

And even using a “lightning capture” app to cheat a bit, I still wasn’t able to capture a single decent photo last night. If I didn’t have the ISO and exposure either too high or too low, resulting in images that were too dark or too blown out – the other problem was just the thickness and multiple layers of the clouds. πŸ˜‘ When the lightning wasn’t bright enough it was just obscured by the clouds, and when it was bright enough – it was like a strobe light going off in the middle of a huge ball of cotton. Just no definition.

So I think today I’ll do the bills, catch up on laundry, just general meh stuff around the house. Once the week actually starts tomorrow, that’s when I’ll have to start worrying about oil changes, glasses, haircuts, and all the other “out and dealing with people” stuff… so keeping to myself and just getting some minor chores done around here actually sounds like the most appealing way to spend my time today, believe it or not. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜•

I’m sure as my morning meds kick in I’ll start to feel better, along with mentally feeling better about getting some random shit done around here. πŸ™‚ I’m just never good when I first wake up, especially when I basically predicted last night that my neck would be an issue and that I’d be glad that today was still part of the 3-day weekend. πŸ™„ Just gonna tune the world out as much as possible, put on some music, and do my thing.