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.

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.

McNally Robinson Photo Submission

McNal­ly Robin­son, my favourite book­store, is curat­ing a pho­to­book of the province, to be titled Man­i­to­ba by Man­i­to­ba. To that end, they’re seek­ing pho­tos tak­en out­side the Perime­ter (for the non-Man­i­to­bans, that means, essen­tial­ly, “not tak­en in Win­nipeg”). You can sub­mit up to 5 pho­tos.

It wasn’t easy, trim­ming my sub­mis­sion down to five. Here are the ones I sent in.

Wish me luck!

Dark Sky—Riding Mountain

Star Trails

I went up to Rid­ing Moun­tain for the Lights Out event.

My friend Tim was camp­ing up there, too, so I went up a bit ear­ly and stopped in to see him. We went elk bugling—a birth­day tra­di­tion of his—but the elks weren’t hav­ing any of it. Oh well.

After that I went to the park in Clear Lake, where the lights were well and tru­ly out. It was dark enough that, more than once, I near­ly stepped on some­one because I couldn’t see them. Per­fect con­di­tions!

First I snapped some Milky Way shots. This one’s my favourite:

Milky Way
The Milky Way, with an ever­green for scale.

Then I set up for some star trails. I set my timer for an hour, set my cam­era to take 15-sec­ond expo­sures, and sat down on a bench to lis­ten to my shut­ter click.

After sev­en min­utes, the lights came back on. Sodi­um lights, too, so it washed out every­thing, mak­ing the trees and the beach look orange.

So the head­er pho­to is 7 min­utes’ worth of Earth’s rota­tion, instead of the hour I was hop­ing for. Oh well. It still turned out pret­ty good, I think.

Prints are avail­able. Con­tact me for details.

Mom’s birthday bash

Mom and the kids

For my mom’s very recent birth­day, we got togeth­er at Hecla, a cou­ple hours north of Win­nipeg. I’ve post­ed most of the pho­tos on Face­book, but Mom doesn’t have a Face­book account.

No meteors

Star Trails, Aug. 12, 2018

I went out to try to get some mete­ors dur­ing the 2018 Per­seid show­er, and I don’t think I cap­tured a sin­gle one. (I saw two, but they were where my cam­era wasn’t point­ed.)

But at least I got some nice star trails, on a dark and moon­less night, despite the smoke in the air.


My goals for my writ­ing retreat, 2018 edi­tion, were pret­ty sim­ple:

  1. Get at least 10,000 words writ­ten in Trans­la­tions, prefer­ably more like 12,500.
  2. Do some astropho­tog­ra­phy and just gen­er­al pho­tog­ra­phy.
  3. Do some kayak­ing and bike rid­ing.

How’d I do?

At the start of the week, my nov­el sat at 65, 968 words. As I write this, I’ve just crossed the 80,000–word mark. So I man­aged 14,055 new words in this first draft. I’m hap­py with that—especially con­sid­er­ing that I essen­tial­ly took Fri­day off from writ­ing.

Also, I got a pile of pho­tos tak­en. I had hoped for some good shots of the Milky Way, but the moon was near­ing full, so the skies were too bright for that. I did get a cou­ple nice star-trail shots, though.

I also went to Win­nipeg, for Chadwick’s book launch, and had a love­ly chat in the evening with Mike & Michelle, a cou­ple friends I haven’t seen in a long time.

As far as kayaking—well, the weath­er didn’t coop­er­ate. It was con­sis­tent­ly around 20°C here this week, which is a bit chilly to go out on the lake. It’s sup­posed to hit 27 or 28 Mon­day, but by then I’ll be back at the office. I did go for a few bike rides, which was nice, and as I write this on Sun­day, I’m plan­ning one more before I pack up and leave.

So, on the whole, I’m going to call Writ­ing Retreat 2018 a suc­cess. It’s been a pro­duc­tive, fun, glo­ri­ous time, and I’m going to miss it.

Same time next year.

Series: Writing Retreat 2018

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2018: Sun­day; Writ­ing Retreat 2018: Mon­day; Writ­ing Retreat, 2018: Tuesday–Thursday; Writ­ing Retreat 2018: The Week­end; Wrap-up.