Unplanned Trip to Vance’s

Oh, I forgot one other thing that I did a couple days ago. There has been an ammo shortage pretty much since the point when COVID became a thing, and it has gotten worse as people have been watching the riots and craziness in various cities across the nation. ๐Ÿ˜ So when I was window shopping on Vance’s site and saw that Blazer Brass 115g 9mm was in stock, I went for a ride to see if I could snag a couple boxes. ๐Ÿ™‚

I figured I would get there and there’d be maybe a case or two that was put out on the shelves, already partially picked through, but nope… they had half-a-skid of the stuff. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Granted, at $22.99/box it was more than it normally would have been, but beggars can’t be choosers at the moment. (There are GunTubers that are still travelling hours for theirs. ๐Ÿ˜ฒ) I ended up talking “gun stuff” to a fella behind the counter, getting some education from ex-law enforcement, for about 15 minutes… and he mentioned that even they were surprised when they saw how much showed up in that one delivery.

But I feel pretty good with the amount that I’ve got now. Especially given everything that I just described about my shoulder’s reaction to a little bit of landscaping, it’s obvious that I do need to get out to a range to practice when I’m back to normal. Just so I know how my shoulder and neck will react to shooting, and to make sure that I can still be safe and capable if needed. ๐Ÿ˜Ž But not this weekend, that’s for damn sure. ๐Ÿ˜… But after the recent trip to Vance’s, I’ve now got plenty of target/extra ammo now (for whenever I end up going) to go along with the two mags’ worth of home defense rounds it’s normally loaded with. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

I’d Like To Unsubscribe

Normally I’m appreciative of the fact that I dream almost every time I fall asleep, and that usually they are quite elaborate… sometimes taking place in the same setting, or “starring” the same people, as dreams I had since I was a kid. Every now and then I even am aware enough that I’m dreaming, that it gives me a slight influence over what happens during them. ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Lately though, my brain seems determined to run through a laundry list of ways that I should die. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ It doesn’t get to the point where it actually happens, so I don’t know if that “means anything” when it comes to dream analysis, but the lead up to being startled awake is still pretty craptacular.

  • I was in an abandoned city, everything looked damaged by earthquakes, fire, random destruction… and I found a hotel that looked somewhat like the old Continental Motel we used to stay at in Atlantic City. A few stories tall, inner courtyard, all of the windows busted out and curtains blowing in the wind, everything covered with a layer of dust. I think I was just looking for a place to camp, but someone snuck up on me and fired two long chains with knives on the ends at me, both of which hit and went through both of my forearms. Once that happened, I was essentially attached to the chains, and the unseen person began dragging me along the walkway through the broken glass, down the stairs, and eventually over the guardrail and onto the ground below.
  • I was exploring the old house we used to live in out in the country, looking for Mom and Dad, late at night… opening the rear door and walking into the foyer, the doors slammed shut and all of the lights went out. I shouted to see if either of them could hear me, but no sound was coming from my mouth as the house began shaking and all the air was sucked out of it. I was thrown into the ceiling where I was stuck in place by some unseen force, unable to make it back to the door where I’d be able to breathe.
  • I was in another abandoned city, late evening, similar scene of destruction as if some sort of battle had gone through the area. I was moving along the outer side of a long brick building, trying to gather up my friends so we could get out of there. I found my friend Jim, but two patrol guards showed up and caught our other two unnamed friends and shot them. We began running away from the building and the guards, into a large field full of weeds, and the guards were firing on us the whole time. Jim got shot first, and was unable to walk, so I had to drag him along as bullets were whizzing by my head and striking the ground all around me. Eventually, even though we were probably 50 yards away, a bullet hit me in the lower back and I dropped to the ground, also unable to walk or get away.

Meh… there are more, but I know that dreams are only really interesting to the person that had them, since there’s no way to effectively convey the look and feeling of everything. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ž I wish I was a better artist, because I’d love to sketch out a storyboard for any of these dreams that feel a little too real. Hell, I might try sometime… I actually had a thick dream journal once where I sometimes did sketches. ๐Ÿค”

But it’s no wonder my sleep schedule is a nightmare, pun intended, since there’s no way to get a good amount of solid sleep when shit like that is filling my unconscious thoughts. ๐Ÿ˜ฃ So I’ve just been resorting to sleeping whenever my body decides it needs it. A couple hours at night, a couple hours early in the day, a couple hours in the evening… not as if I can really keep it steady like that though, obviously. ๐Ÿ˜’

It doesn’t bother me that much anymore, other than causing my interactions with people to take a hit due to my availability being so random, not to mention I have days like today where I’m just too exhausted to even look at my phone. ๐Ÿ˜ต But now it’s midnight, I did get a little more sleep, so now I’ve got enough energy to probably keep me up all night, for better or worse. ๐Ÿ™„ I guess I’ll finish up the laundry and see what other chores I can knock out… make myself useful while I can. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Another One

2100-ish 8 second exposures, ISO 3200, from 9p to 2:30a last night. I couldn’t turn the automatic exposure off until after the moon had set, since I wasn’t sure if it would then be too dark after the moon was gone if I had locked it initially. Meh… I dunno. It looks good, I’m just losing the “wow” factor with each one that I do.

Expand to full screen, 1080p…

Decent Test

The light from passing cars on the trees is a bit distracting, but this was still a pretty successful test of long exposure time-lapse with the iPhone. Even though the movement of the stars is apparent, I still wanted to have the tree line in the frame to emphasize the effect.

It’s interesting how not only can you see way more stars than with my other method, but you can even make out clusters that can’t be seen with the naked eye. I might try a 30s exposure next time, with maybe an 800 ISO setting. The stars will start to form natural trails over 30 seconds, but since the images are destined to be in a moving time-lapse video, that won’t really matter. Should be slightly brighter / slightly less noise.

Might Be A Good Night

I’m not sure if this is going to become a trend, but yesterday I fell asleep around 6pm and slept all the way through to 6am this morning… and now this evening I fell asleep at 6pm again, although this time it was just a nap – and I woke up just after the sun had set. Noticing that the sky looked super clear, I grabbed my phone off the charger and threw it outside for another time-lapse video.

I’m using the same settings as the most recent video, 1 second exposure, 2000-ish ISO, and 60 seconds of enhanced light retention… and I’m going to render it out at 4k 30fps and 4k 60fps. Some devices will be able to play the 60fps video from YouTube, but older devices might still play it at a standard 30fps while just dropping every other frame to keep the speed increase. Meh… just little different things I can mess with in the process, so we’ll see what I turn up tonight. Looks good though, with minimal city light, and no moonlight at the moment…

If I’m lucky enough to have a clear sky again tomorrow, that’ll be when I switch to the wide angle lens and go back to traditional long exposure with no digital light retention. I think I’m gonna do 10 second exposures at around 1000 ISO, and then I’ll have to compile all of those high resolution images into a video. The app I use for that will only output 1080p, but if I can figure out how to get iMovie to batch change the frame duration for thousands of images, with at least .1 second as an option, then I might be able to output at 4K.

But this will be the first night that I’m awake enough to probably be able to let the phone sit out there, shooting, until the battery runs down… or perhaps until I run out of room for storage. ๐Ÿค” I didn’t think about that until just now. Not only do I need to not run out of room for the shots, but I also need to allow enough storage for those shots to be rendered out to video. I can do the 30fps, upload it, then delete it to make space for the 60fps one… or vice versa. Anyway… I’ve got some stuff goin’ on tonight as long as those clouds stay away. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป Plus I smell a bonfire and can hear a band playing somewhere off in the distance toward the east. I’m wondering if there might be a party of some type over at the fire station on the outskirts of town.

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.