Surprise

I ordered a dolly from Amazon, to help me with the misc packing up of stuff that I’ve been doing. Just needed something to help me more easily move around the boxes, tubs, furniture, or whatever… but it was just as nice to be able to get a big box for the kitties to play in. This is the first time since Maggie got here that I’ve been able to cut some holes into a big box like this and turn it into a “house” for them to mess around in. Glad to report that they both like it and even had some fun playing together. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Too Cloudy

I started yesterday’s time-lapse recording before the sun had set, but the cloud cover obscured a good portion of the sky… enough that I caught fewer airplanes passing through the frame than the night before. (Despite the video being longer.) Looks like tonight will be even worse, cloud-wise, so I probably won’t even make an attempt. Next thing I wanna try is the .5x wide angle lens, even though it doesn’t collect light as well as the main lens. Might take a little more fiddling to get a decent result, but that’s half the fun.

(Click the bottom right corner to increase to highest resolution and expand to full screen.)

Another Method

My previous time-lapse video of the stars was meant to not only capture them in a way that showed obvious motion, but also to capture the background “dust” of stars along with the brighter, more prominent ones. This also had the side effect of really illuminating any clouds that passed by, plus any airplanes or shooting stars that went through the frame were so quick that they were difficult to notice. That video and method did what I intended, but last night I decided to do something different.

You’ll need to turn your brightness all the way up, and possibly wait until your room is mostly dark, in order to see what I ended up capturing. It doesn’t help that YouTube’s compression has filled the video with artifacts and essentially erased many of the dimmer stars, but you can still see what I was going for.

(Expand to full screen, switch to 4K, and maybe drop the speed by 50% for best results.)

Last night I shot each frame of video as a 4k, one second exposure, with the highest ISO that the iPhone 11 allowed. That on its own wouldn’t really do the trick, so I also applied a method of shooting that artificially extended the brightness of anything that moved through the frame. With an additional 30 seconds of “light retention” it allows a time-lapse video to be played at 30 frames per second, resulting in “enhanced” light that follows the original object in real-time for one second.

That allows the much higher resolution time-lapse video to move at a pretty good clip, while still making any moving object much more obvious to the eye. And in this video you’ll see several airplanes, which are unmistakable as they travel across most of the frame – however you’ll also see shorter, and possibly quicker, streaks of light that only happen in a small portion of the view, which are quite likely “shooting stars” from the Perseid meteor showers that are happening over a few days right now.

I like how the airplanes look, so I think tonight I’ll start shooting one of these videos before it even gets dark dark… hopefully catching a few more planes as they pass by, since not only am I already in a low traffic area, but the later it gets, the fewer flights that will be passing overhead. I’m also going to increase the enhanced light, doubling what I was doing last night, so we’ll see how it turns out. I’ll probably have to also adjust the brightness and contrast of the resulting video, something that I also did for last night’s video, but I think it’ll end up being another unique looking video shot from here at the fortress of solitude.

Long Exposure Time-Lapse

Continued my testing last night since I knew that I was gonna be awake into the wee hours… standard iPhone 11, shooting 15s exposures @ ISO 500. The partial moon, being slightly below the visual horizon for the first bit, helped to light the slow-moving clouds while still allowing the stars to be captured in the distance. Once it made it above the tree tops, though… that was the end of the night’s experiment.

(Click on the bottom right corner to make sure it’s set to 1080p before expanding to full screen.)

Waiting…

Killer headache at the moment, so I’m gonna refrain from making a real blog entry… but I figured I’d throw this video up from my dashcam in parking mode from earlier today when I had to spend more time in town than I really wanted. Clouds were okay, but this would be much better in more severe weather. Not that I wanna be out and having to park in the open when shitty weather hits. ๐Ÿ˜ (Best in HD of course…)

Too Late, Too Early

I stayed up until around 2am last night. Mostly just because I couldn’t fall asleep, but also because I wanted to step outside and see how many meteors I could see from the Lyrids meteor shower. ๐Ÿค“ I stood outside for a little over ten minutes, freezing, and saw a grand total of none. ๐Ÿ˜… I know that I was looking where I was supposed to, so they were either lighter than expected or I was just blinking at the wrong time. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

No big deal, since if I had seen several of them I probably would have been wishing I had figured out the needed settings for my cameras so that I could have captured them. ๐Ÿ˜’ But earlier in the evening I did mess with the phone and camcorder a bit, to see if I could quickly figure out how to get a noise-free, well exposed photo of the stars in the sky, while also being able to capture any shooting stars… and it’s not as easy as you’d think, at least not with an iPhone.

It’s funny, I’ve got it down where I can get a decent exposure of the night sky, but I know from trying to also capture a few passing planes in the frame – that the way I was exposing the image requires the stars to “stay put” for about 30 seconds, and any moving source of light just wouldn’t be captured. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ Meh… I’m fairly confident with my regular star exposures, so if the sky is clear tonight I might plug up the phone to power and leave it out back to possibly get a decent time-lapse. On a full charge, using just the internal battery, I was only able to get one hundred 30 second exposures, forming this bitty 10 sec time-lapse… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ™‚

(As usual, best viewed in HD, full screen… and this time, in a dark, dark room. I’m gettin’ there…)

So it was after 2a before I went to sleep, and then I woke up around 7a because my brain knew I had a doctor appointment at 9:30a – so it was sleeping lightly, waiting for any excuse to make sure that I’d wake up and not sleep through it. ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ Obviously I’ve had early doctor appointments before, but this one was different, so I’m certainly not complaining that I had to wake up early for it today.

This was my first experience with “telemedicine” as I guess it’s called. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Staci called a little early, at 9a, to see if I was awake and able to go ahead and start… and she then sent a link via text, I clicked on it, it opened a page that started the AV connection as fast as a regular Facetime call would start, and from that point on it was like a regular doctor appointment. ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿปโ€โš•๏ธ

She did her normal “pre-doc” stuff of all the typical information that they gather before the doctor actually comes in, she then put me on hold for about 30 seconds, and then my doctor clicked back in and we wrapped up my appointment in less than ten minutes. ๐Ÿ˜Š Still covered everything that we would have covered in person, and in fact – because I didn’t have to experience the anxiety of the in-person visit, I probably felt better than at a “normal” appointment. That also meant that I didn’t ramble on about any minor “this or that” which often happens when I’m actually there and able to bitch. ๐Ÿ˜…

So yeah, I could definitely get spoiled by something like that. ๐Ÿค— I realize though that a doctor does have to be able to physically interact with a damaged person at least every couple of appointments (to confirm the level of their damage) but it would be nice if I could do two of these, then a regular appointment, two more of these, then a regular, etc. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜• Unfortunately they probably aren’t able to bill insurance at the same rate when they do “virtual” vs “real” appointments, so once they feel that the COVID risk isn’t as high anymore, everyone will be going back to the regular routine. ๐Ÿ˜’

Heh… this is probably my longest, most coherent pre-10a entry I’ve ever written. ๐Ÿ˜‹

Almost Seven Hours

My sleep has been screwed, so I was actually awake before dawn yesterday… and since my iPad was fully charged I decided to throw her out back to take a time-lapse video for as long as she could. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป Shooting one frame every five seconds, she was able to last for nearly seven hours. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ It starts around 6:30a, just a little after dawn, and does eventually go from “bleh and cloudy” to “half-way decent” before it’s over.

(Like all of these time-lapse and sky/astronomy themed vids, it’s best viewed in HD and full screen.)

And I know, it’s essentially the same thing I’ve been doing over and over again here at the house… ๐Ÿ˜ although this one was more of a test of the battery. ๐Ÿคจ So at least now I know that if I set it out there and have one of those booster battery packs already plugged in, there’s a good chance that I’d be able to do a dawn to dusk time-lapse of a single day without it having to be plugged in. ๐Ÿค“ The trick then would be figuring out which day would have dramatic enough clouds without also having pouring down rain.

Meh… all of this stuff is kinda like my brain just tolerating eating generic, frosting-free “toaster pastries” when it would really prefer the brand name, frosting covered, goo stuffed, delicious Pop-Tarts brand toaster pastries. ๐Ÿ˜… ie: I still wanna be creative, but I have a hard time motivating myself enough to get away from the house to do it. ๐Ÿ˜’ But hey, this one gets kinda pretty around the middle part, so there’s that…