Monthly Archives: August 2010

Camera and Telescope

   I finally managed to get my camera and tripod set up last night for another try at the ‘time lapse star trail’ experiment.  Lots of photographers have done it in the past, so it’s not ground-breaking, but I just wanted to do it myself.  So, this first picture is my very first success at this, and it looks ‘kinda ok’, but it wasn’t what I was after.  I set up the camera on my heavy tripod (heavy for stability), facing west, and set the camera for ‘bulb’ operation.  Bulb means the shutter opens with the first click and stays open until you click again.  I did a 10-minute exposure and got the results you see.  This is NOT what I wanted or expected, but I figured out what was going on.  I  had the camera set for ISO 800, which meant it was behaving just as if it had FAST film in it, which you use for low-light conditions.  So, there was enough moonlight spilling onto the trees to ‘paint’ them with light over the 10 minutes, giving the illusion of a daytime shot.  Hmmm, time to re-group.

   I changed the ISO setting to 100, faced the camera to the north (just for variety), and did another 10-minute shot.  As it happened, right as I was ready to go, I saw an aircraft approaching, about to enter the shot, so I went ahead and opened the shutter just to see the effect on the picture.  So, you’ll see a long continuous streak going from lower left to upper right – that’s the airplane.  Just as an experiment, I added some light onto these trees just to highlight them – I used our big yellow flashlight for this, just kinda waved it around for a minute or so during the open shutter time.  That’s why the trees don’t appear totally in silhouette.

   These photos yield ‘star trails’, which are curved lines indicative of the rotation of the earth and giving apparent movement to the stars.  If you’ll look *very* closely at this second photo, near top right, you’ll see a star with no trail.  That is the North Star, and it always appears that way in this type of photo since it is located right above the axis of rotation of the earth, thus, no trail.  At this point, you’ve either learned something, or you’re bored to death.  Let me know 🙂

   Now I’ve got to get out there with my telescope and see if I can re-learn how to use it – it’s been kinda gathering dust.     My son Bret wants me to bring it with me to Canada in a couple of weeks, so it might be best if I appear to know what I’m doing.  I have a camera adapter somewhere which is supposed to allow ‘astrophotography’ – if I find it, we’ll see how that goes.

   So, a ‘techno-geek’ post, but maybe you didn’t mind too much.


Olla Podrida

  Yep, just building another ‘stew’ here, a little of this, little of that.  Another work night for Kate, 3rd 12-hour shift in a row, kinda beats her up.  When she comes in tomorrow morning I’ll be tiptoeing around, hoping to let her rest.  I goofed up the other day, went out and mowed the yard and made enough noise that she heard it.  She didn’t complain, just remarked on it.  Shhhh, I’ll be quieter.  I got my chain saw back from the shop today – couldn’t keep the chain on it, but they fixed it for free, sharpened the blade.  Guess I better hold off on *that* activity for a bit, too.  Shhhh.

    I’ve been ‘playing’ with my Canon DSLR this evening, trying for some time-lapse shots.  I’ve had a few successes, a few ‘learning moments’, but it’s been interesting.  I saw on an astronomy website where this fellow had set up his camera for some star shots and set up his camera for a long sequence of relatively short shots, then tied them all together into a movie of the night sky.  Wowsers!  Anyway, I figured out the first steps on how to do that, now I just need to fine-tune some of the settings.  Have I put you to sleeep yet?  I know everyone isn’t into photography and/or astronomy, but I find them interesting.  (wanna see his neat movies?  go to and click around).

   An update on Kate’s ‘spare time’ activities.  She has a huge heart, she’s a born helper and volunteer and has found what should be the perfect outlet for her.  There is an organization called CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) which exists through the generosity of  volunteers who are case workers for abused and neglected children. These volunteers are the ones who speak for the children who cannot speak for themselves, in court.  They will make recommendations to the court based on what they have learned from the families of the children and from the kids themselves.  She has to complete 30 hours of classroom training on this, then she’ll be handed her first case to assist with.  A big job, a very important job, and I know she’ll do it well.  I don’t think I have the psychological makeup to do this kind of thing myself, but maybe as I learn more about it I can help in some small way.

    We just found out that Kate is going to have about a week off, the 2nd week of September, and we’re planning to head up to Ontario, Canada, to visit son Bret and his family.  Kate has not yet met this branch of the family, so this will be neat for everyone.  And, this will be Kate’s first visit to that part of the world, so I’m excited for her and hope to do a little ‘tour guiding’ while we’re there.  Yeah, sure, like *I* know where anything is.  Maybe I should let Bret be the guide so we don’t get lost.  Anyway, I’m sure we’ll have a blast.  Stand by for lots of vacation pics, just lettin’ ya know!  I’ll be setting up the slide projector, don’t even *think* of sneaking out the back door!!

   We’re planning to go to the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville next week sometime, we’ll be going with Bruce and Joyce.  We’ll be consuming our share of festival food and maybe riding the ferris wheel.  And, I’m sure we’ll be wandering MILES of display booths, admiring show animals, ALL that stuff!!  It’ll be great!  🙂

   In my last posting I was talking about doing a little writing for the ‘Corydon Unsavory Past’ historical thing coming up.  Well, I got the writing done and my efforts have been approved, so now I need to start rehearsing my little show, practicing my delivery.   So, if you come to Corydon on October 1st or 2nd, you’ll find me in ‘period’ costume of 1871, telling all the folks in the tour groups about the Great Fire of 1871.  It’s $10 a head, but it’ll be worth it to see ME, of course!  🙂


  We were down at the town square wandering through some of the historical exhibits during Territorial Days or some such event, and Kate was chatting with a woman at one of the counters while I wandered around.  When we got back together she announced, “Well, I volunteered us for ………………………… “.  Of course, I didn’t pay attention – I’m a husband, right?  I promptly forgot whatever it was.  To be fair, she did bring it up a couple of times since then, but who listens?  🙂

   So, about a week ago she tells me, “Well, the first meeting for Corydon’s Unsavory Past event is Monday at 7:00 PM – you know, the one we volunteered for?”  Hmmm, I wonder what *that* is??  “Oh, and by the way”, she says, “I’ll be working, so it’s all up to you – have FUN with it!  Don’t forget!”  I dutifully made a note of the time and date (thank you, Google Calendar!) and pretended to look prepared.  I did spend a little time doing some research on this and found out that it’s some kind of annual event downtown that is something like a mini-pageant, with guided tours, narrators, docents, all that neat stuff.  Something to do with history, and I do like history, so I guess it’ll be all right.

  Last night I showed up at the appointed time and place (the historic Old Presbyterian Church [Pedestrian Church?]), signed one of the forms that said something about me being a volunteer for the State of Indiana and not to expect a paycheck or anything.  As I made my way to one of the empty seats in a pew, a giant leech attacked me!  It was the lady who had trapped Kate at the exhibit, and now she was attached to ME!  Horrors!  Well, I may be exaggerating just a bit, but I was duly in her clutches!

   Actually, she was very nice, her name is Nancy Snyder, and she was asking if I could do some writing for the event, since my BW (beautiful wife) Kate had touted me as Raymond Chandler or Erle Stanley Gardner or somesuch famous writer.   I said, sure, I’d give it a shot, whaddya need?  So, long story short, she said she needed me to go over the historical newspaper clippings in the folder she handed me and to wrap a story around the events, then to be presented on the Corydon Unsavory Past tour event on October 1st and 2nd.  She said that they would have about 10 ‘stations’ set up around the square, where various stories would be presented by narrators to tour groups as they arrived at their station.  I would be one of the author/narrators, standing there in costume, waiting for each successive group so that I could repeat my spiel about the famous Corydon Fire of 1871.  I would be ‘spieling’ about 6 or 7 times as the evening progressed, and did I think I could do all this?  Oh sure, I opined, having no idea.  But, I said I’d give it my best shot.  I took the folder and went home to slave over the word processor keys.  So far, it’s been great fun!!  Thank you Kate, for volunteering ‘us’ for this.

   To follow up on the Derby Dinner Playhouse thing, we went over there to Clarksville on Sunday evening to celebrate our First Anniversary.  I had attended dinner playhouse productions in the distant past, so I had some idea about what was to transpire.  We had a simply marvelous time!  The buffet was first, and they had a great variety of good food, no complaints whatsoever – just wonderful!  Shortly after, the cast members came out for a preliminary song and dance show prior to the main show (“Cinderella”, as you may remember).  They did a great job singing and dancing, and then when the main show started, we were equally pleased with that.  Great costumes, great performances, a perfect evening in every way.

   At a couple of points the performers/tableservers came around to refresh our iced tea and coffee, and I just had to ask, “What kind of coffee IS this?  It’s fabulous!!”  If you’re like me, you smell coffee brewing, you expect it to taste kinda like what you smelled, but it’s rare that the taste is really that good.  I tell you, this stuff was flavorful and smooth, even taken black, as I drink it.  Our server had trouble remembering the name at first, but finally came up with it, “It’s Douwe Egberts brand.”  I did some research when I got home – it’s a Dutch import, and kinda pricey and hard to find.  Guess I’ll wait til we go back to the Derby ( we signed up for a package deal for some more shows in the future).

  Well, there’s today’s Ramble.  Confused yet?  🙂

We’re still havin’ fun (and yes, I’m gonna get Kate signed up to do *something* as a part of the Unsavory Past thing, you can bet!).  🙂

Hang in there, the HEAT can’t last forever!!

Good Ole Corydon

   Friday evening, and very pleasant it is.  We’ve had some HOT weather, as I said before, but today was quite nice, comparatively.  Tonight is a work night for Kate, sorry she missed the geat evening.  I just got back from town – every Friday evening in the summer there is a concert in the small town square.  Performing this evening was the Crawford County Community Band, and it was *swell*  :).  A small piece of humor:  the band used to call themselves “The Out of Tuners”.  🙂

  I went over to the ‘concession area’ (folding tables set up, food prepared by the ladies from a local church) and latched onto a couple of hot dogs, a piece of chocolate cake and a diet coke.  Fabulous!! 

   I just couldn’t help thinking how sweet it is to live in (well, close to) this small community.  I feel like Professor Harold Hill, although I haven’t found many problems here in ‘River City’.  I never get tired of coming to the downtown area – we fell in love with this place the first time we drove through, wanted to live here, and now it’s true.  You might say we’re ‘lucky’, but really, we made our own luck.  Kate found a job nearby, we got packed and moved and made it happen.  We haven’t regretted it at all except for the increased distance from family in Denver.  Sorry we couldn’t bring everyone with us.

   Different subject for a minute.  We thought we had lost little KD last night  😦  She managed to pull loose from her collar and ran into the deep woods.  We didn’t see exactly which way she took off so there was little reason for us to tramp around trying to find a little dog in a BIG thick forest.  We called and called, no luck, so we had to just wait, see if she returned.  We had little hope of that happening, but about 6 hours later, around midnight, she was scratching at the front door.  She looked like she had been *dragged* through the woods – deep scratch on her chest, other lesser scratches scattered around.  We tried to pick her up and she YELPED quite loudly – this happened several times, so she was hurting somewhere, maybe took a fall or something.  Anyway, she’s doing quite a bit better today.  Gave us a scare, for sure.

   Again, I’m rambling, but this is in the form of a letter, isn’t it, so I guess it’s ok.  We went to Vine Grove today, visited Kate’s mom (Frances), had a nice day, but it’s always nice to get home.  Our little acreage is so quiet – we have that ‘country’ feeling, but all that we need from town is just a short drive away (about 12 minutes).  Now, if I could just get Kate to re-arrange her schedule a little, she could go to the town concert with me – that’d be NEAT  🙂

   We are looking forward to the dinner playhouse thing on Sunday, we’ll celebrate our anniversary with Cinderella.   Hmmm, wonder if they’ll have hot dogs there… I’ll let you know   🙂

Things to come

  I decided to look ahead, to take my mind off this blazing hot weather.  Right now they are saying our temperature is 99 degrees with a heat index of 112.  Probably be a good day to wash our car if I had any fireproof rags.  I went to the mailbox a little earlier (long walk out to the end of our drive) and one of my shoes melted before I could make it back.  Well, maybe not, but it was HOT, I tell ya!

  Kate darlin’ and meself have our 1-year anniversary coming up on Sunday the 8th, and we have reservations at the Derby Dinner Playhouse to see Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”.  We’ve had a wonderful year and look forward to many more to come.  We enjoy doing many of the same things, and we’ve had many fine adventures along the way.  As you may have observed, we took a number of excursions the first few months after we got married, and we always referred to them as ‘honeymoons’.  Lotsa fun!  We’ll be travelling to Clarksville, Indiana, for the dinner playhouse thing – not so far away, it’s across the river from Louisville, and I’m sure we’ll have a big time.

   The Kentucky State Fair is coming up in a few weeks, to be held at the fairgrounds in Louisville.  It *may* be necessary for us to go – there are rumors of festival food and ‘old folk’ rides.  Maybe we can get on the carousel or the ferris wheel, catch a breeze or maybe a brass ring.

   This coming weekend there are big doings in the Cincinnati area, including the “Goettafest”.  Well, you may ask, what the heck is “Goetta”.  Apparently it’s some kind of locally famous sausage made by the Glier family of meatpackers, and they have a couple of festivals during the year, spring and summer, to bring in the tourists.  Not sure we’ll make it to the one this weekend, maybe next spring.

   Also, I met a fellow down at the coffee shop and we were swapping stories about our mutual interests in Civil War stuff and re-enactment sites, battlegrounds, etc.  He was saying that he enjoys going to the Lexington, Virginia area for the historical sites there and for the fall foliage.  Apparently the middle of October is a good time to go for lots of fall color.  So, we’re thinking we might invite he and his wife over, get better acquainted, and possibly hook up with them for a trip to that part of the world.  I do love those fall foliage photo opportunities!

   So, we’ll see  how it goes with our future adventures, and for now, we’ll just try to keep cool, maybe just hibernate indoors for the hottest part of the day.

   Come see us, ya hear?  🙂