Star trails, through the haze

Star Trails

When I left the house last night, it was most­ly clear. I stopped and got a cof­fee, and by the time I made it to my des­ti­na­tion— a grav­el road a cou­ple miles north of the Rapid City turn-off—the half-moon was still bright, but a thin haze of cloud had start­ed to move in.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Star trails, through the haze”

Unfinished Stories

The Grove cartoon by Steve Groves

A friend of mine, Steve Groves, was a tal­ent­ed writer and an amaz­ing car­toon­ist. I think he had a hard time believ­ing it, though.

For a while he drew a week­ly strip for a local news­pa­per, called The Grove, that fea­tured humans and ani­mals in a small town. The main char­ac­ter had moved home from the big city and would often ques­tion just why. The humour veered between gen­tle and bit­ing, as all the best satire does.

A sam­ple car­toon is at the top of this post. I often told Steve that The Grove remind­ed me, in tone and in exe­cu­tion, of Bloom Coun­ty. He’d always mum­ble some­thing in an embar­rassed voice about how it “can’t be that good”, but it was.

(He would some­times tell me that he found my suc­cess in writ­ing inspir­ing, and I’d mum­ble some­thing in an embar­rassed voice, because I know how much rejec­tion I’ve col­lect­ed, how much fur­ther I feel I have to go, so I guess that par­tic­u­lar knife cuts both ways.)

Steve died last year after a bat­tle with can­cer. A mutu­al friend, one T. Kei­th Edmunds, set about on a project to gath­er some of Steve’s work into a memo­r­i­al col­lec­tion. Mine arrived on Thurs­day, and it’s gor­geous. 96 pages of car­toons, draw­ings, sketch­es, and notes for projects that run the gamut from “kid’s book” to “night­mar­ish mon­ster hunter”.

Thanks, Kei­th. And of course, thanks, Steve.

Unfin­ished Sto­ries: The Art of Stephen Groves is avail­able for pur­chase, as are select prints of Steve’s work.


In the end, it looks like lightning, kind of

I call this one “I didn’t mean to set it to 6s, f/32, ISO1600, but look how it turned out”.

Edit­ed in GIMP: basi­cal­ly, stacked the same lay­er about 5 deep, with all but the bot­tom-most set to “Mul­ti­ply”.

A borrowed Lensbaby

Trees at golden hour

Last week I got my hair cut. My hair­dress­er, like me, is an ama­teur pho­tog­ra­ph­er. We got talk­ing lens­es, and she said she had a Lens­ba­by but had no idea how to use it. She offered to lend it to me.

I said “Sure!” I’ve been curi­ous to try one out, to see what it could do, but not curi­ous enough to buy my own.

I did some exper­i­ment­ing. It’s not like any lens I’d used before; you focus with two fin­gers, and you can maneu­ver it so that you’ve got a sharp focal point, and the rest of the image is blurred—almost motion blurred, real­ly. It was inter­est­ing to use, but not some­thing I’d prob­a­bly buy for myself. Cer­tain­ly not at full price.

Then last night—Hallowe’en night, no less—I glanced out the win­dow as I was get­ting my stuff togeth­er for judo. After a day of unbro­ken clouds, I saw that the sun had bro­ken through, and was throw­ing gold­en light every­where. I raced upstairs with my cam­era (which still had the Lens­ba­by attached) and snapped the above pho­to, of the trees in my front yard.

I like it. I think it turned out pret­ty good.

Now I think I need to do some more learn­ing with the Lens­ba­by.

The 2018 Halloween Tally

The Hal­loween tal­ly:

  • Mad sci­en­tist
  • 2 mem­bers of a motor­cy­cle gang
  • Nin­ja
  • Gyp­sy
  • Day of the Dead
  • Pirate
  • Ghost
  • 2 jail­birds

…for a total of 10 Hal­loween­ers. (Plus two par­ents, dressed as Mary Pop­pins and Ben, who didn’t come close enough to get any can­dy.)

At judo: 0 kids. 5 adults. A nice qui­et evening of flash­cards and kata.

A not-entirely-dark, not-so-deserted highway

Star Trails

Half an hour’s worth of Earth’s rota­tion, along with the head­lights of three or four vehi­cles trav­el­ing down Man­i­to­ba PR 468, under the bright light of October’s full moon. Also I think there are a cou­ple air­planes cross­ing the sky. And clouds.

Nerdy tech details

I’m not sure any­one but me will care about this, but so it goes.

~200 images, 10s each, f/2.8, ISO 800. WB was set to “Day­light”.

Light­ly edit­ed in GIMP: I copied and past­ed the main lay­er as two more lay­ers, and set the mid­dle one to Grain Merge, the top one to Hard Light. This dark­ened the back­ground a bit and enhanced the lights.

Le tournesol

A song, from my French immer­sion school­ing, about sun­flow­ers. (Every time I see a field of sun­flow­ers, this song comes to me.)

Le tour­nesol, le tour­nesol
n’a pas besoin d’une bous­sole
ni d’arc-en-ciel, ni d’arc-en-ciel
pour se tourn­er vers le soleil

In Eng­lish:

The sun­flower, the sun­flower
has no need of a com­pass
nor of a rain­bow, nor of a rain­bow,
to turn its face to the sun

One thing I didn’t remem­ber from ele­men­tary school music ses­sions in the library at École Lau­ri­er: that bassline.