Monday, November 2, 2009

Up close ... and far away

I kind of promised myself a little while ago I wouldn't turn this into a photo blog, but the best laid plans of mice and men and all that...

During the past two days, through design and by chance, I've taken some interesting pics. And, since we don't seem to print the things out, stick them in envelopes and mail them to each other; or pull out the albums when friends come over anymore, I figured I'd put them here.

Yesterday, since the Steelers weren't playing and I didn't really give a damn about any of the other games, and since I told myself a little while back that yes, while Sunday's were made for football, I should probably avoid sprawling on my couch every Sabbath from now until the first week of February. That in mind, I headed downtown...in the rain...to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

I hope you'll forgive me for not taking notes about all the names and such of the crystals below. It wasn't until I was most of the way through I remembered the old sports photographer's trick of, after you take a picture of someone doing something, make sure to get a picture of the back of the jersey for future reference. When I eventually remembered, it was only then I started taking pictures of the crystals' names. Live and learn.

But first, on the way in to the museum, this caught my eye. I hope you don't need an explanation of what it is.

The funny thing about D.C., it's a pretty town and all that, but it really doesn't lend itself very well to fall. But I gave it my best shot.

This is in the Sculpture Garden, a new installation in fact. Kind of interesting, but also a bit depressing. Unless this is some kind of magic metal tree, even in the height of summer it will give no shade.

And now on to the cool stuff.

This, according to its description, is a world-famous example of millerite.

Crocoite

Mesolite

No name available at this time

Another anonymous purple crystal

This is a very small part of one of my favorite exhibits. It's a 325-pound piece of copper that was found in a Michigan mine. Somehow, some way, the rocks surrounding it were removed leaving just the vein of copper.

This is a close-up of a sandstone concretion discovered in France.

Oh, and speaking of France...the Hope Diamond, out of its setting. It is believed the Hope was once part of a diamond known as the French Blue. The last French king to wear the stone was Louis XVI. Anyway, here's a good look at this 45.52-carat blue diamond out of its setting for the first time in decades.





And here's the part of the show were I came across by chance. Driving home from work tonight I, along with many other denizens of D.C., noticed the full moon hanging low over our fair city. Cursing the slow drivers in front of me, I hurried home as quickly as the law would allow (of course), rushed upstairs, grabbed the camera, tripod and cable release, and headed for the roof of my building.

Both of these are 20-second exposures at ISO 100, the first at f13 and the second at F16. The streaks of light (more visible in the first than the second) are the navigation lights of aircraft leaving National.



My question is this, and if anyone has the answer I'd be very grateful: How do you take a night picture and get better detail on the moon?

10 comments:

J said...

Very cool pics. I particularly like that sandstone formation...

Liebchen said...

I love the sandstone and the mesolite.

Actually, the sandstone kind of reminds me of the Michelin man.

FoggyDew said...

J - Thanks. I'm always amazed at the art nature can create.

Liebchen - Yanno, there is a certain resemblence...

elle dubya said...

Be thankful that you get to experience the seasons change at all! We have green then brown. No color changes :( Of course, we do get to wear shorts and flip flops on Christmas day!

Titania said...

Another option to post pictures is always Facebook, but I know you oppose it. Anyhoo, really beautiful pictures....

Alice said...

i so need a tripod. lovely pictures!! i really like those nighttime ones..

FoggyDew said...

elle - I remember that from the Gulf Coast of Texas. Of course, along with Christmas in flip-flops, you also have the occasional hurricane.

Titania - You know, I was thinking about it yesterday, I don't know if I've ever actually seen a FB page. It is another option, but one I choose to avoid.

Alice - My tripod is like 20 years old and is screaming to be replaced. I actually worry about putting my pretty new camera on it cause it's so wobbly. They do make shooting the moon and fireworks soooo much easier.

MB said...

As always, you make me wish I knew better how to actually use my camera. Beautiful stuff.

FoggyDew said...

MB - Sometimes I'm just pretty much faking it and taking advantage of the fact I can shoot 650+ pictures on a card. You're bound to get lucky. As they used to say at Life Magazine: Film's cheap. In this case, electrons are even cheaper.

Sebastian said...

Ah, the moon...

You can't, I'm afraid. Too much dynamic range from the black of the sky and the white of the moon.

You can just about do it if the moon is very small, and thus very pale. Obviously dusk'ish shots where the sky is still blue work as well, as the moon is not relatively bright.

I like the first DC shot :)

And what a diamond... eep.