Night Photography, the 1st attempt

I’ve never attempted night photography or astronomical photography, until last night. 

A while back on Black Friday I bought an app that I’d had my eye on for a while. Its Photopills, a very cool tool to assist in planning all kinds of shots involving the sun, moon, milky way and meteor showers. I’d highly recommend this very sophisticated app. There is a bit of a learning curve, but there are lots of video tutorials, manuals, blog posts etc. to get you started.

So, last night was the height of the Geminids meteor shower and I thought this would be a great opportunity to try to capture my 1st night shot. There is a lot to learn and think about to get good shots and a lot of post processing to get the spectacular images like this. After last night, I’ve got a lot to learn and practice. Let the adventure begin!

The peak of the meteor shower was to be between 2am and 4am.  This is a little late for me so we head out to Birds Hill park around 1am and hope for the best. Turns out it’s not near dark enough and there is still some significant light pollution from Winnipeg and the town of Birds Hill etc., lesson learned – research a darker location. Thankfully, its warm for this time of year at -1C and only a light breeze, which at 1am seems plenty cold.  I set up the tripod, cable release and the manual exposure settings and get ready to shoot.

Using the Photopills app and its Night Augmented Reality (AR) capability I figure out which way to look and point the camera. Almost immediately we see a couple of meteors or “shooting starts”, very cool. It seems that the approach is to shoot frequent exposures, each one being 25 sec. and hope that a meteor happens during that timeframe and the camera is pointing the right way. I have the lens set at 10mm (16.1mm effective on my crop sensor camera) so it’s covering a pretty big chunk of the sky. However I’m likely not pointing the camera in quite the optimum direction. I’ve left the Photopills app set for a slightly different date & time, so the Night AR view is not quite right, but it’s sort of close. Lesson #2 learned, check you app settings.

After taking about 30 photos and not too sure if any of them have captured a meteor I’m getting cold and we pack it in.  After looking at all the photos two have meteors, one is very faint and the other is nice and bright! Success! And here is it after a little quick Lightroom magic.

My first meteor capture, can you find it?

So, not only was there a lot of light pollution the white snow cover and the scattered clouds in the sky didn’t help either. Still, not too bad for the 1st effort. Just in case you can’t find the meteor or want a little info on what part of the sky you’re looking at here is some help. I’ve connected the dots for the Big Dipper and an arrow to the meteor.

Look for the red lines,

One other surprising thing was how many people are in the park this late at night! Three or four cars drive by our location and on the way out we see another 3-4 cars parked doing who knows what. 😉

How I’m feeling

These days I get asked how I’m feeling a moderate amount, most likely because some folks know about my health challenges I faced earlier in the year. I’m actually feeling quite well physically as well as most “other” ways, but this is about my current physical status.

The way I’m judging my physical status is basically two ways. The first is just how I’m thinking about my physical status. Are things working OK? Do I have adequate energy? Sleeping well? How am I feeling compared to a prior timeframe like last year or the year before or some other timeframe when I thought things were really, really good. Basically it’s just some sort of overall internal evaluation of how I think I’m doing and generally the answer is “good’.

The other primary way is by my cycling capabilities some of which is how I feel about the various rides and the other measure is the analysis provided by the various bits of technology that I use while riding like a heart rate monitor and a power meter. 

Today, I had an experience with both on my ride.

While doing the ride I noticed that I was able to hold 225-250 watts with a moderate amount of effort. Only a very short time ago this was not possible. Granted, I’ve been riding more frequently to improve my fitness, and it seems to be paying off. While riding I was thinking this was the kind of pace I could hold a couple of years ago while cycling around the Kenora area on the Bypass loop. Feels good to be getting back into better shape. Hopefully, in the summer of 2019 I won’t be hanging on for dear life to the back of the pack on group rides and back into taking my full turns pulling on the front like the “old” days. This internal personal assessment was backed up by the Strava stats. This was one of my better rides in quite some time.

This New App Is Like Yelp for Noise at Restaurants | Food & Wine

We recently went to Cafe Carlo and had a fabulous time and excellent meal. However, it was very noisy! The food was so good that the noise level wouldn’t stop us from going back but, I’ll be using this app to give them a rating. At the end of the evening, when we stepped out onto the street we all commented on the high noise level and how good it was to get back into a quieter area.

I really think restaurants need to get back into taking this into their design considerations. I like a good energetic buzz/vibe/energy etc., but there can definitely be too much of a good thing. Just sayin’

Source: This New App Is Like Yelp for Noise at Restaurants | Food & Wine

WordPress Beta testing

Not too much on the bleading edge but I jumped the gun and updated this site to WP 5 RC3 and I’m also posting from the iOS WordPress 11.4 beta app.

So far nothing has fallen apart and the new iOS app handles media uploads into the RC3 Gutenberg format better that the old app.

Up Early

I’m awake in the early hours. Thoughts of all kinds are zooming around in my mind. After a while I get out of bed. It’s 5:00 am.

After the usual morning routine I settle in with a coffee to read the Bible. Today is a bit of a big day for me, it’s day 365.

Today is the day I’ve completed reading the entire Bible for the first time. Certainly being retired has helped with setting aside the time and I know I should have done this a long time ago, but here I am. I’d say the daily reading habit is now firmly entrenched.

On occasion I’d miss a day or two, but always managed to catch up in short order and get back on track. The YouVersion app has been a really big help. Some parts of the Bible were tough slogging (might have skimmed through parts of Numbers and Lamentations) and with other parts I found myself looking forward to the next day to find out what happens next! (Job, Daniel, Revelations).

So now what? What will I read now? Well, it’s Advent and focusing on the coming of Jesus into the world seems quite appropriate. I actually miss the Advent traditions from my days in the Anglican church, so this will be good.

I scan a few reading plans and pick up on two that seem good for me. I’m sure one or both of these will stick.

The first one is this.

I’m reading the @YouVersion plan ‘The King Is Coming’. Check it out here:

The other is this one.

I just finished day 1 of the @YouVersion plan ‘One On One: 100 Days With Jesus–ADVENT’. Check it out here:

Now I’ve read John 1 before, several times in fact, but it’s never impacted me like it did today. So beautiful, powerful, profound and more, beyond words

Word for today

The end of the last verse of Psalm 142, “for You are good to me.” just rang so true for me today.

Really caused me to stop and re-read it several times and reflect on God’s goodness and mercy towards me, especially over the last 10 months. So thankful.

Keto becoming challenging

Ok, the fun of doing something new and crazy, eating keto, is wearing off. In fact I’m having a major “cheat” moment with a raspberry scon at Starbucks! First bread with n two weeks. Need to stay strong. Got to get some more varied “go to” recipes / foods. Bacon and eggs is fun for only so long.