Apparently failure IS an option (and other assorted tales)

It’s been a bit since I last posted and in that time I’ve uploaded three separate batches of photos to my Flickr account. I still haven’t really devised a scheme with which I’m particularly happy regarding my work flow, but oddly enough it isn’t the work flow of actually working with the photos of which I’m displeased. Instead it is simply the transference of images from the three different media cards to the computer. Thus far I have been keeping each cards image files in their own separate folders on my hard drive. Why? I don’t know. Maybe just so that I can quickly check any given card to make certain I have actually transferred images to the computer BEFORE I do something goofy like format the card. Anyway. Let’s dive into the various interesting things that have been occurring photography wise, shall we?

Apparently failure is an option. About 10 or so days ago we were enjoying some incredibly nice weather. Cooler than average temperatures and low humidity were ruling both our days and nights. And this particular night I was lounging in the television room of the west wing of the mansion, while a mostly naked Kate Isitt fed me peeled grapes and pressed the buttons on the t.v. remote for me, when I noticed the stark white light of the waxing moon upon the lawn. “Hum,” thought I. “Perhaps a chance to snap a few pics of the moon this evening?” but the pull of the television, the peeled grapes and the mostly naked Ms. Isitt kept me from making my way out of doors.

Another hour or so passed and I again noted the lovely light upon the lawn and could now see the moon hanging in the night sky, high enough that it was above the tall trees to the south of my view. Extending my apologies to Ms. Isitt I made for my camera kit and tripod and headed out into the wilds that are the 1,276 acres upon which my mansion sits. I stumbled about in the dark for a bit before turning my eyes heavenwards to find not only the moon, in all Her glory, but clouds.

Clouds. Fast moving clouds. And plenty of them. “Damn.” thought I. “It was perfectly clear earlier,” but I had elected to stay put and now I was about to pay the price for my laziness. I set up my kit and played with my manual settings until I had found one that I thought would provide a decent result and offer a starting place for making adjustments. Regardless the clouds would have none of it and left me with this sort of mess.

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Or this instead.

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“Clouds be damned!” I mused. “I”m going to stay out here and keep snapping pics until I get something that is remotely useful.” And maybe I did?

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However, before this particular evening (and around the July 4th holiday) we experienced some rather rainy weather. But this rain was prefaced with something we don’t get too often: lightning and thunder. I have enjoyed pictures taken by others of lightning, but have yet to find myself in a position to return the favour. Until now, so to speak. As I could see the flashes of lightning and hear the occasional distant grumble of thunder I thought I should get out and try to capture some of nature’s light show, especially since there wasn’t yet any rain. Unfortunately the 2,413 acres of land upon which my mansion sits is very wooded and not conducive to photographing lightning on the horizon. Clearly I needed to get into the helicopter and have Pilot fly me to a field whereupon I might have a chance to capture some lightning.

I eventually settled upon a field not too far from my mansion and got myself set up. This wasn’t going to be easy though. The lightning wasn’t the sort whereby there is a sudden flash of light zipping across the sky, branching out in all sorts of directions, but what is often referred to as heat lightning. It would come and go so quickly I couldn’t get off a shot that actually captured anything so I turned to pointing the camera into the sky, setting a longish exposure and hoping I caught something. Anything. What I caught was crap as evidenced below.

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And this image is the best of them all. Pitiful. I might have gotten some better shots as time went by, but the arrival of rain sent me and Pilot scurrying to the protection of the helicopter and thus ended my chance to bring to others the same joy they have brought to me.

However, not everything photography-related has been a dismal failure of late. I have managed to pull a few rabbits out of my hat, if you will, and these instances have made my failures feel less-so in retrospect. I have had some great luck with the pets of late. Both the cats and dogs have been more cooperative than usual, but with the dogs it could be simply that they were either asleep or too tired to give me any shit. The one really great situation has been my ability to get a few really super shots of one of the cats, Pumpkin. Pumpkin is, for all intents and purposes, feral. While having lived with us for almost three years he, and his sister Little One, have never properly socialized with we mere mortals. However, Pumpkin was very, very cooperative a few days back and I was able to get a couple of really nice pics of him like this one.

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Over the July 4th holiday we had guests from Florida visiting us in the way of our best friends, George and Caroline, and their daughter, Rowan. We haven’t seen them in about two years (for a variety of reasons, but money being the biggest impediment. well it’s not that money is the impediment, but that the lack thereof is the impediment) and it was truly super to have them about for a week. We enjoyed spending time chatting and otherwise farting around and it gave me a chance to take some pics like this one.

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You, my most cherished readers, may recall how poorly went a recent visit to the Butterfly House at the Cox Arboretum of Dayton, Ohio. Well, while there that first time I noticed how nice the arboretum was and thought to myself that I should return on another day and try to take some pictures of whatever I could find. There were lakes and ponds, so ducks, frogs and dragonflies may have been in order. There were flowers, so bees may have been in order. And who knows what else may have been there that I simply missed on our other adventure to the butterfly house. As such I elected to head back earlier this week (Monday I think) with camera kit in tow (but no tripod).

I arrived in what might be best described as very late afternoon/very early evening such that the shadows were obvious, but not yet pronounced. I had my entire kit (camera body and all four lenses including the very heavy 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM monster) with me as I didn’t know which lens or lenses I might make best use of, but I elected to start with the 100-400mm just in case I came across dragonflies. Funny how it takes a huge and heavy lens to snap a decent pic (at distance) of a very tiny and very light insect. I must say I was not disappointed.

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I will concede the dragonflies were less-than-cooperative as they typically wouldn’t sit still for more than a few seconds, which resulted in a lot of nicely composed, but poorly focused images. Alas, I’m not complaining as this was nirvana! Onwards and upwards though as there were bees to be found all over the park!

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I had more luck with the bees, but they too kept moving quite a bit as bees are wont to do….or so I assume. While taking pics of the bees (and flowers) I was struck by the beauty that can be found in the death-throws of a flower. I have noticed this before (and noted such as well), but was again struck by this bit of information.

Beyond the bees and dragonflies I was lucky enough to grab a very nice shot of a bird and some landscape type shots of the grounds and its lakes/ponds.

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Finally, there has been much in the way of photographs of clouds taken and posted by certain Flickr cohorts of mine. Puffy white clouds. Stormy clouds. Sunrise and sunset clouds. As for me though, not so much. Mostly it has been a matter of not seeing any clouds or cloud formations that seemed photo-worthy. Until recently that is. On my drive back home from the Cox Arboretum Mother Nature saw fit to add a little frosting to the delicious cake that was the arboretum.

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As disappointing were my attempts at lightning pics and the moon stuff, I will confess that this recent trip to the arboretum, our friends visit, and the cooperative tame fauna more than made up for those minor setbacks. For a switch everything felt right and good.

I guess I should start looking over my shoulder now, eh?

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9 thoughts on “Apparently failure IS an option (and other assorted tales)

  1. I’m not going to say anything about your 10,000 acres, or the fleet of jets at your disposal, or the castle.
    Neither am I going to ask questions like “Are you sure that’s a dragonfly?”, or “Are you sure that’s a bee?”

    What I will say however is that your moon shots are fine. Yep, even the cloudy ones. I still haven’t managed anything even approaching them yet!
    Maybe the lightning shot doesn’t quite cut the mustard, but top marks for trying anyway.
    The cloud shots though… wow! Absolutely super!

    And I was interested by what you said of dying flowers. Have to try to remember that, and have a bit of a play (now where did I put that weedkiller?).

  2. Well, I am glad to see Mother Nature listened to me and gave you a….er…

    Um, nevermind. (shyly looks away)

    Well…Ok, I’ll tell you (since I let the cat peek its head out of the bag). I, one of Mother Nature’s priestesses, went to Her and asked for her blessing on you. She apparently likes you, a lot (even though you’ve called her a bitch a time or two) and decided to give you a break!

    😛

  3. Beautiful photos! I especially love the battered flower. I agree that there is something incredibly compelling about a dying plant. Kudos!

  4. Oh forkboy! Are you implying I don’t care enough? I’m deeply hurt… cut to the quick in fact!
    I care so much that I positively refuse to intercede with Mum on your behalf cos I want so desperately for you to be able to achieve something all on your own merit.
    And what do you do? Slap me in the face. Boo hoo!

    😉

  5. Love all your shots! Especially the moon! WOW!

    Oh, and Pumpkin is lovely. Not as lovely as my Pumpkin but beauty is in the eye of the owner! (And I had to write that or else my cat will act up out of jealousy).

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