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. 🤓 I stood outside for a little over ten minutes, freezing, and saw a grand total of none. 😅 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. 🤷🏻‍♂️

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. 😒 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. 🤔😐 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… 🤷🏻‍♂️🙂

(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. 🙄😏 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. 😃 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. 🤓👨🏻‍⚕️

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. 😊 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. 😅

So yeah, I could definitely get spoiled by something like that. 🤗 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. 🤷🏻‍♂️😕 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. 😒

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

More Moon Stuff

Making a a little more progress with the $99 digital camcorder with the stupid good zoom… 😏 with its only major drawbacks being the purple fringe around some things in certain conditions, the lack of 4k resolution, and then of course the more you zoom the softer the image looks. 😒 I thought I had the focus as sharp as I could get it, but I’m thinking that there may have been a haze that was also affecting the output video. Might try again tonight, probably just full-zoom stuff, since the time-lapse in the beginning here is pretty meh.

(Make sure this is set to play in HD, full-screen, for the best results.)

Since the moon was lighting up the clouds, I did some more fiddling with the phone to get the brightest exposure possible (while still using only a 1/3 sec shutter speed) and I was gonna get a much faster time-lapse of the clouds out back… but of course they cleared up shortly after I started recording. However, you’ll notice a couple stars bright enough to be picked up, so I’m hoping that on a clear, moonless night I might be able to capture the rotation of the earth in the movement of the stars with this new method. 🤷🏻‍♂️🤓 Will have to wait a couple weeks to give that a shot, but even though the video’s overall speed is too slow – you should still be able to see that there’s some movement in the stars.

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. 😏🤷🏻‍♂️ 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…)

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. 🤔😒 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. 🤷🏻‍♂️🙂 (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. 🤓😎

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. 😒 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. 😔 I’m just hoping that it doesn’t mean that I lost my court hearing weeks ago. 🤷🏻‍♂️ 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. 🤓 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? 🙂

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