Saturday, January 05, 2013

Eleventh Day of Christmas: Blooper Reel

Anyone else out there been tempted to try the idea of freezing colored water inside balloons to make colorful globes for outside?
I so got sucked in on the idea.
Headed right out to buy some water balloons only to learn that no stores around here sell water balloons in winter.
Eventually I just went with full sized balloons.
I filled them all the way up and stuck them outside in the snow to freeze in our below twenty degree temperatures.

The next day I skipped out the door eager to peel off the balloon skin to reveal a beautiful marble like globe.
The first balloon I picked up immediately gushed out clearly non-frozen water.
What the heck????

But at least there was still a hollow frozen form.
The next balloon was so unfrozen that the thin bit that had frozen promptly shattered.

I stuck the shards into the snow and resolved to wait another day or two.

Two days, three days...

I finally peeled the remaining four balloons only to discover that they were still not frozen solid.
Also discovered that the red food coloring looked distinctively orange when frozen.
I couldn't figure out what to do with the globes so I stuck them on our porch until I could round up some water balloons and make more smaller globes.

Each night snow fell and dusted the globes.

Up close they looked kind of cool for a background for the snowflakes.

Reminded me of how the tropical waters looked when I would snorkle on vacations.

I was curious as to why the food coloring didn't disperse evenly but not so curious that I thought about it for very long.
Instead I put my mind to trying to identify places that might still sell those tiny water balloons that would work better than the big balloons.
About an hour later, after walking around a few major stores and having store personnel repeatedly direct me to the party supply areas where only big bags of large sized balloons were to be found, I finally gave up the search for water balloons.
As I was stomping across the frozen parking lot back to my car I had an "ah HA!" moment.
Can you guess what it was?
It was SUCH an amazing thought!
I could just NOT FILL the big balloons all the way up!
(You thought of that right away, right?)
Oh yeah, 
I so smart.

Back home I pulled the first balloon out of the bag and after putting several generous food coloring squirts into the balloon, I attached it to the faucet.
Turned on the water as my oh-so-smart brain mused
"Boy it sure would make a mess if one of the balloons had a hole in it."
At that same moment the rapidly filling balloon sprung a leak.
Brain was smart; a balloon with a hole did make a mess.
After that I puffed a bit of air into each balloon before attaching it to the faucet.

I lined up the eleven remaining balloons along the edge of our walkway.
It was to get down to like six degrees over night...
I was excited!
The next morning I peeled one of the balloons.
It leaked all over me.
 One half of the balloon was frozen solid, the other half was still liquid.
What the heck???
Back inside I complained to Bernie about how the balloons still had not frozen solid.
He pointed out to me that the water wouldn't freeze any place the balloon touched snow because the snow would insulate the water from freezing.
My So Cal blond girl brain just could not accept that.
Snow is frozen water, right?
How could it keep water from freezing then?
I moved the remaining balloons out away from the snow to test this.
Guess what?
Bernie was right.

At first I plopped all the globes on the concrete porch.
Sprayed them with some water to attempt to make them more glassy looking.
Then I realized that since the porch faced north the globe would never sparkle in the sunlight and look like glass.
I went to move them...
Too late.
Five of them were already glued in place with the frozen water spray run off.

The rest of the globes got put around the base of the lamp post.
I had attempted to make a frozen hand using a latex glove.
It froze nicely but the thumb and three fingers broke off as I peeled the latex free.
The remaining intact finger on the frozen hand was the upright middle finger.
Wouldn't you know it....

I think I have had about all the fun I want to have with frozen colored water for this life time.
Perhaps I should go back and re-read the article to see what it was that I thought was so special about this idea.
Or maybe not.
I think I am over it now.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Ninth Day of Christmas: Lensing around

Just before I returned the 100mm rented lens I took it out to try a bit of non-macro work.
Bitsy was nearby; I took her picture then took the shot again with my 50mm lens to see if I could really see any different.
Oh yeah.  There was a real difference.
With the 100mm I could crop down to her eyes and see a perfect reflection, with the 50mm the crop went soft/fuzzy.
I had a chat with the folks at Pictureline where I rented the lens (a local owned shop, but lens are rented by other stores around the country btw).
For about a third of the price of the 100mm I could acquire a 60mm which I was assured would give me the same degree of focus with about the third of the lens weight.
Guess who really, really wants a 60mm lens now?
(btw again...they do awesome infinity work too, a "one size fits all", no zoom, so one "zooms" by moving one's feet, but the trade off is crispness in the photography that the zoom feature just doesn't allow.)

I decided to try water drips again, this time with my 50mm lens.
A 50mm is usually available for under $100; I picked one up a year ago.
Yes, drips can be captured nicely with the 50mm, but there is a tiny bit of softness compared to the 100mm shots.
Ignorance is bliss...I have ruined my bliss by knowing the difference.

Still fun...

If you own a "nifty fifty", give drip photography a whirl!

No snow was suppose fall all week.
I was geared up to get some stuff done inside, and indeed did acquire a nice sized house plant to place in the spot where the Christmas tree stood.
Now I have to go buy a big pot for it. 
One thing always leads to another.
Anyhoo...after dark the snow started up again.
It was bitterly cold, down around 10 degrees out there.
I gave my EF-S 18-55 "kit" lens another shot, again with the magnifier screwed on to the front of the lens.
Since it was night out, the porch light gave the snowflakes a golden glow.

I used the Picasa editing options to reverse the colors, from yellow to blue,  on this shot

Since the snowflake was on a magnifying lens, I got the snowflake shadow below.

A constellation of flakes!

I hadn't noticed the tiny strand of fiber until I cropped this photo down.

By placing the lens beneath the light of the porch light, I got a reflection of the porch light light, which back lit the snowflakes.
I learn something every time I go shooting!

My favorite shot of the evening.


"Snowflake flower with dragonfly"


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Eighth Day of Christmas: New Years Day and Drip, Drip Yippie!!!

Hate, hate, HATE taking down the tree on New Years Day.
It went up early in December and was pretty dry, but the real reason it taken to the curb was to make sure our crawling grandson wouldn't be grazing on fallen needles when he comes by to visit.
What a mess it was; not just needles but tinsel was strewn around too.
A real chore to handle when all I really wanted to do was sit and still enjoy hot  mulled cider and Christmas music by the tree.
I've decided I really like having a tree in that space and now I will be on the hunt for a nice ficus or something to set in the Christmas tree space.

No snow was supposed to fall; it fell anyway and I got one fairly good photo.

The snow fell off and on all day.
By sunset the icicles were glowing golden like the winter sky.

(I remember the first time I saw icicles in Salt Lake at Christmas time. We were going through a drive to pick up some Mexican food.  I thought to myself what an amazing job they had done decorating the building with such pretty fake icicles.  About five minutes later it dawned on me that the icicles were real.  Oh yeah, such a dumb blond So Cal girl moment!)

Every house and most churches are sporting icicles.
Some houses have icicles that reach from the eaves to the ground.
They are so pretty...I just try to forget that icicles are not good on house gutters and roof lines.

I spent some time trying to figure out the rented 100mm macro lens before I have to return it.
I finally did a google search on macro photography.
 It was suggest to use AV setting and to crank f stop down to 30.
(I never mess with f stops....)
It did the trick to set the auto focus on just one thing and worked better for me than other settings.
Since the outdoor temps have fallen into the below 20s, I "practiced" my macro focus skills on soap suds.

The print from a placemat below the bowl of suds peeked through.

The suds are about a quarter inch in size.
What I am not getting is why the focus is focusing in a band now.
Looks like I still have some research and studying up to do on macro settings.

Now I had seen photos of drips taken with 100 mm lens so I decided to try my hand at it too. 

Caught the falling drip finally after I figured out to sycronize my shutter click with a count to match the drip fall.

Next I emptied the suds and refilled the glass pie pan with regular water, focused closely on the dripping and about a hundred shots later got some good photos!

I really like this shot...

And this one...

And this one...

This one is so interesting to me; the drop hadn't penetrated the water surface yet.
My New Year resolution probably should be to "Get. A. Life." instead of spending hours goofing off with my camera.
I soothed my guilty conscious by reminding myself that most of America sat on couches groaning and yelling about the goings on of twelve grown men who were attempting to move a football through another group of twelve men.
Compared to that injury producing activity, taking photos of water drops sounds down right virtuous to me!
I will settle down tomorrow and get on track again.
Or maybe not...
Four more days of Christmas still to go for me!