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… 😏

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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.

Little Things

Believe it or not, I actually slept pretty good last night. Fell asleep almost immediately after I vented about the garage door here in the blog, and slept a solid six hours… which is much better than the current usual. I startled myself when I woke up though, glancing at the security cameras and seeing a car sitting in my driveway – forgetting for a moment that it is my car, and not some rando that had just showed up.

Before my brain had a chance to fully wake up and start fighting me, I grabbed my phone and checked the voice mail from my thyroid doctor. My labs showed numbers that will allow the next step to proceed on schedule, so that was a big relief. Not too much longer now. I know that I’m focused more on just being able to take my thyroid meds again, but that’s because it’s the current pressing concern regarding how I feel.

So I’m looking forward to the radiation and scan, but then even though I’ll be back on my meds and on the way to feeling better, that’s when the focus will be what the test results are going to say. I am starting to get really nervous again… and that waiting time between the scan being completed and my followup appointment with my doctor to let me know what they found… time feels like it runs in slow motion.

But the lawn d00ds actually hit the yard (and the rear weed whacking, without me even having to ask) yesterday while I was out, so I’ll have to run in town sometime today to grab some cash for whenever he comes by and pick it up. And Amy, she has adopted an aging “one of those little white dogs with all the teefs” after seeing posts about it just wandering around in Sugar Grove for days, so I’m gonna drop off the extra set of “pet stairs” that I’ve got, so her new critter won’t have as much trouble getting up on the couch with her.

I’m still internally cringing at going back into the garage to look at the damage and take some pics, but I’ll probably go out and do that first. Already been talking to Gen, since they (by choice) had their garage door replaced earlier this year, to start getting ideas of where and how to look for a good place to handle the project, and how much I might be looking at by time it’s done. So, a few small things on the to-do list today, but as long as I take my time none of it should be much trouble.

I Want Smear

Every now and then I muck around with a new time-lapse app to see if I can get a really “smeary” lighting effect that I want – but for whatever reason I can’t figure the shit out. It makes sense… on a bright day, even at the lowest ISO, you can’t have a long shutter speed because everything will just get blown out. So I try to do it digitally, but you can still see too much clarity in the smears… but still, this is an interesting looking video.

(This should be available at 4k 60fps, but you can at least change to 1080p 60fps up here β†—)

Once it is actually night time you can use much longer shutter speeds and the smear looks like a true smear, so next time there’s a perfectly clear night and decently “full” moon I’m gonna maybe have to try it again – but only after dark. Another option is capturing a sunset (and clouds, and car lights, and plane lights) from Mt Pleasant… but that means, a) climbing the damn mountain, which I haven’t done for a couple of years, and b) hoping that they don’t have those damn LED flood lights lighting up the face of it while I’m trying to do my shit. I’ll have to see if there’s a schedule for when they do or don’t do that.

Oh, and obviously if you lock the shutter and ISO for the brightness of the scene when it starts, you’ll probably get some super dark and super bright parts as clouds pass. The alternative is auto exposure, which causes some off jumping around of the exposure during the video – as well as making the whole thing look considerably less dramatic since the phone is always trying to make the exposure appealing. Meh… this is me, trying to find something fun to do… something to have interest in again. Carry on.

That’s Just The Way It Is

It looks like I can just count on one week out of every month being horrible thanks to the runaround I get regarding my medication. πŸ˜’ A full one-quarter of my current existence on this planet, already set aside for fuckery and feeling physically and mentally miserable. 😣 So, starting this month, I’m gonna have to start rationing – so that way when there are extended delays in getting stuff approved, I won’t be going completely without and feeling the affect of that accordingly.

I don’t even have the energy to get into it. πŸ˜” I’m just hoping that it doesn’t mean that I lost my court hearing weeks ago. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I still haven’t gotten any paperwork on it, but I’m guessing the magistrate is probably close to making a ruling if he hasn’t already. But yeah, when I’m already having a hard time functioning like a human, knowing that I’ll lose a week each month like this certainly doesn’t help matters.

But anyway… in an attempt to not think about that for a while tonight, I put my phone on airplane mode and set up a short time-lapse shot. I think the elapsed time was actually about two hours, but it plays out in a minute or so. I used an ISO of about 1200, an exposure of 1/3 of a second, with digital light trail enhancement of 3 seconds. πŸ€“ I’m actually fairly pleased with the result, although I’ve already thought of what adjustments I need to make next time so there’s less grain, brighter stars, and longer light trails.

So yeah… this is just another thing I have to adjust for, the same way that I need to adjust the amount of shit that I do when I’m feeling good – since I know that too much moving around will screw me up. 😐 Meh… it’s almost too hard to explain how complicated it actually is – the stuff that I can actually somewhat control – so when stuff that I can’t control gets added on top of it… yeah, things start to get bad bad. I’ll figure it out. Eventually. But hey, that video is kinda neat, no? πŸ™‚

(I might try to capture the movement of just the stars next time we have a new moon.)