Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Updates On Recent Postings

Often after posting on the blog, new images come to light, or I think of a slightly new topic to add. Case in point is the recent post on the praying mantis from a few weeks ago. Four nights after the mantis pair arrived, one returned and seemed very content to pose for me. I took the opportunity to shoot him through the security door - how he appears from inside the house at left (illuminated by the porch light). After mounting the macro lens, I went to take a few close-ups at the limit of what the lens can do without auxiliary optics or extension tubes. At right is what I came up with, using the on-camera flash of course, since it was pitch dark outside. This is at full camera resolution, so reveals the finest details that can be seen without too much effort. Not bad for a hand-held shot!

Next up (chronologically on the blog, post about the total lunar eclipse we had on the 27th of September. The eclipse happened early on a Sunday evening, right after sunset, so couldn't have been easier to observe! It happened early enough that I wasn't quite set up to take images, so didn't really get started till nearly mid-eclipse when it was deepest in the Earth's shadow. Telescopic views look so strange with the full moon surrounded by a multitude of stars! Under a normal full moon, all but the brightest stars are washed out, yet, shown here at left in a 10 second exposure with the TEC 140 are lots of stars adjacent to the moon. In some ways it resembles the "old moon in the young moon's arms" when the moon is a skinny crescent. The earth lit side unilluminated directly by sunlight is faint enough not to overwhelm adjacent stars. Of course, the color cast of the eclipsed moon picks up the sunset colors that leak around the edge of the Earth...
anyway) was the

And speaking of color casts, it has recently been recognized that shortly before second contact and just after third, you can sometimes see a blue or turquoise cast to the edge of the moon, caused by sunlight passing through the Earth's ozone layer, which scatters out the red wavelengths... The shot at right was a 1.3 second exposure taken after 3rd contact - the hard edge of the Earth's shadow is overexposed at lower right.

Finally, I recently posted about a pair of possible identical twin cats we've been feeding out front. After disappearing for a couple weeks, Spatz has decided he likes us and has been hanging out for daily feeding again. He is a fixture on the front porch, looking like an Art Institute lion parked adjacent to our front door to greet us and make sure he doesn't miss any feedings. After feeding him for at least a year, he is big and healthy, needing a neutering soon... Meanwhile, his possible twin brother Spitz is living in a dog crate in our living room, trying to socialize with our existing herd. He had nearly all of his teeth pulled a couple weeks ago, but seems to have recovered well. He is about the friendliest cat to us, but not so much with the other cats... At right he is hiding under the futon at the vet's office. Note the astronomy bed sheets! Also I had managed to put my phone's camera in B&W mode, which doesn't make much difference in shooting a "tuxedo" cat, but makes for a drabber background... Sptiz is going back to the vet in a couple weeks for another checkup, if Spatz is still hanging around, he'll get to go for a ride too!

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