28 August 2012

spirograph fun



Remember using a Spirograph as a kid? No?! Well then, I'm probably much older than you. But let's not get off topic here.

I created these using a swinging light and an open shutter. I follow a few too many photo tip sites to tell you where I saw this, but that tutorial was calling it a parabola, which this isn't. (I got a "C" in physics to argue his claim.)
  1. First? You're gonna need a manual remote. If you don't have one, click off this page and move along because you cannot yet snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper. (Oops, another 70's reference.)
  2. Tie a small flashlight to the end of a string, and the string to something 8-10' above you. I went with a small penlight keychain attached to a light fixture.
  3.  If you've attempted night shots before, set your camera to the same settings. A low ISO, f-stop round 11-16, and a manual setting to "bulb mode." I'm just going to send you here if you'd like to find out more, to avoid me posting a lengthy "how-to." Your camera's manual would be of some help too.
  4. Either put your camera on a tripod or the ground (if it's safe and clean enough for you), directly below the light source. Distant depends on your lens. If your light is heavier then a tiny keychain light, make sure you tied it securely!
  5. Turn the small light on and all other lights off. Did I mention it should be after dark? Because it should.
  6. Give your light a good swing! Back and forth will get you a pendulum effect, and a circle will get you, um, a circle (I know, right?). Try to go somewhere in between to achieve the spirograph effect. Stand right behind the string at 6:00 and aim for 2:00 or 10:00. Also be sure to move because funny thing is, that light comes back to 6. Let it swing once or twice to take the wobbles out. Then press your shutter, leaving it open for 30 seconds more or less.
Somehow this turn into a lengthy how-to after all. Dammit, I suck.

Basically, try different settings and longer or shorter lengths, or try a different angle with the camera and attempt some bokeh! (Ow, wish I'd have thought of that when I was all set up.) My little experiment here is no where near as cool as some examples I saw. People were using colored light and one guy had some type of strobe. That was pretty awesome!

Now google "light painting" and say goodbye to rest-filled nights, because once you're addicted, you're never......gonna.............zzzzzzzzzzzz.

27 August 2012

pièce de résistance

honkers in the bird garden

15 ton, juicer bug
15 ton, juicer bug

clown cars
clown cars

to the stars!
to the stars!

over view of the forevertron
over view of the forevertron

forevertron's control panel
parts from forevertron's control panel come from NASA

components galore
components galore

popcorn stand, the epicurean
these two kids must've spent half an hour "cooking" at the epicurean while we were there.
they enjoyed working the bellows. it actually makes popcorn.


300 ton scrap metal sculpture

The final capture here is that of the Forevertron, a 300 ton scrap metal sculpture. The link I included 8/24, says "The plans reside only in Dr. Evermor’s brain: 'No sketches, no models, no nothing. I just go for it.' "

Hard to fathom.

We ended up spending a short time talking to Lady Evermor. I said "I could see Tim Burtom filming here!" She responded, "Oh, he's written us a lovely letter! He's such a gentleman." Apparently, whatever he has up his sleeve has not panned out yet.

We also happened to ask if she was familier with American Pickers. "Yes, they were here filming two weeks ago! They spent eight hours here rummaging and going over takes." Mike wanted to buy the wrought iron bench and chair set she was using that day, but she would have it. His back couldn't have managed it anyway. She told us this episode is set to air this September so keep your eyes peeled.

If you'd like to see my entire set of photos from our visit, click over to flickr.

(Tip—Should you ever get there yourself, I would recommend arriving in the morning for better light on the Forevertron, plus a wide-angle lens.)

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And now, Dear Readers:
On a different note, I've heard from several of you about my comment link being off. Maybe I should've warned folks it was coming, but next week I'll be back in school and blogging less, and frankly, I never received many comments to begin with. I'm not a strong opponent of the "I commented on your blog now you have to comment on mine" philosophy; and I felt that had been growing this summer. This way, pressure is off. This will now just be my personal scrap book that you're welcome to rummage through. My email, facebook and google accounts are all accessible from here if you nosey around a bit. Please know that I do appreciate all the hits.

Makes me sound like an oldies station.

24 August 2012

one man's trash...

welcoming insect
about to get eaten
the overlord
gun turret
guarded by birds 

"Dr. Evermor" is a Wisconsin treasure.

The works shown here are just a few smaller pieces that greet you at the entrance of his scrap metal sculpture garden. I have a number of images yet to go through. Meanwhile, there is a really great write up on the artist over on PBS's website.

23 August 2012

days of wine and eagles

clouds over the river

in flight


view beneath the oak



new sign!

Our impromptu road-trip last weekend took us to Sauk City/Prairie du Sac. (Hi Bill!) So, a stop along the Wisconsin River to see if we could spot any eagles was required. Two of them! Score!! The far side of the river is beyond what my telephoto lens can capture, unfortunately.

Wollersheim Winery is also a must. Free samples, hello! Sadly, they were out of white port which I haven't had yet. :(

Here's a 360º view of WW from a 2009 visit.

The area was also home to native son, August Derleth. A little something for you book nerds out there.

22 August 2012

a match made in heaven

pulling a cloud down from the sky
pulling a cloud down from the sky

placing a cloud in the sky
placing a cloud in the sky

I handed off the camera to hubster for these. The 50mm lens was on, so I couldn't get enough distance at arms length. I'm sure we looked pretty silly to our fellow circus-goers while taking them. Some crazy chic holding cotton candy up to the sky and some odd guy squatting before her.

"It was the weirdest marriage proposal I'd ever seen!"

18 August 2012

you're never far from a cow in wisconsin

My laptop is doing some very weird things today. Backing up now before a reboot. Cross your fingers for me! But if you don't see me for a few days, you'll know why.

16 August 2012

sunny 16

the tobacco's almost ready

tobacco plant

the wheat is done

I don't pretend to be all that knowledgeable about camera settings. I'm guilty of forgetting the terminology shortly after learning it. I do know that if my little dial in the viewfinder is too far to the right, the shot is either going to be blown out (that is to say, the whites will lack detail, which is fine if you're going for a high key shot), or the shutter will be too slow in low light.

How's that for advice?

But I can offer you one of the first things I learned many, many years ago shooting film. *clears throat* And that's the "sunny 16" rule. If it's a sunny day, set your f-stop to 16. (Chances were good my film was ISO 100 in those days unless I had some high-speed or low light project up my sleeve.) The top shot here follows the sunny 16 rule.

Now, here's why I don't use it much...although this a nice enough shot, it appears a bit flat to me. Everything is in focus. Not something your natural eye does. I tend to prefer a shallow depth of field. The next two images are f/5.6 where I focused in on the tobacco and wheat in the foreground.

All this is subjective, of course. Lots to factor in. If you're like me and enjoy a good shallow DoF, rent the movie Citizen Kane and watch it from a photographer's perspective. I watched it for a film class last year for the first time in 15-20 years. The cinematography really is ground-breaking.

I better stop now 'cuz this subject has gone from A to B to C, and I could easily chat my way to Z....but you'd stop reading at G.

Hell, you probably stopped at B...

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Linking up with Lisa and Nancy for Rural Thursday.

15 August 2012

back at olbrich

the view from the bridge

standing guard


The beautiful Thai Pavilion. Built in Thailand, then shipped over and assembled here by Thai workers, without the use of nails or screws.

14 August 2012

going a little macro-happy here

ever notice how iridescent impatiens petals are?

max's eye
the vet told me to keep an eye on the cyst in max's eye

kensi's paw
bear claw!! just kidding. it's kensi in need of a trim

balloon flower
balloon flower

we have cicadas every summer, so i'm unclear on this whole every 17 years thing

older stuff

little known facts

My photo
fly over country, United States
this blog is my "live" photo album of sorts. occasionally, i'll throw in some art i've done or some work of my husband's as he's an artist as well. we have a nice yard in a quiet neighborhood with two pugs and a cat, all black. which most of my photos will attest too. ;) i'd love to hear from you, but happy for you to just browse. hope you find something to make you smile. b.