Wednesday, January 23

Last Night's Photos

Three more light drawings. As usual, clicking on the photos gives you larger versions with details about the shot.

A light sphere:

This was a mistake that I ended up liking:

A very bright light tunnel:

Tuesday, January 22

Heath Ledger, dead at 28

Ledger was a gifted actor and his role in Brokeback Mountain was just one of the most moving things I've ever seen.

I don't get into celebrity worship culture, but I do feel a personal affinity for people who have done something I think of as a social good. Brokeback Mountain, and especially his part in it, was a major social good, as far as I'm concerned. It transformed the points of view of people across the country and put a human face to gay men that had been sorely lacking in mainstream movies, which often depicted gay men as either social eunichs or flamboyantly over the top. There's nothing wrong with either of those as part of the spectrum of the behavior of gay men overall, but as primary roles in mainstream movies, it's a bit thin.

Ledger, along with his director and costars, managed to bring human faces to the plight of those of us who live under the threat of violence for the nature of our very beings. For the loss of someone so willing to give of himself to play such a part, I'm going to miss his work dearly.

Friday, January 18

Friday Bird Blogging: Barred Owl

It's never easy to spot these guys. This shot in particular was great because the bird eluded me multiple times before I finally got it in sight.

Thursday, January 10

Tonight's photos

Two new light drawings, this time playing with combination of more than one light object in the same shot. As usual, clicking on the image gives you a larger version with more details. The second one was an exposure of over ten minutes. I did one pass on the left (very slowly), then turned around and came back doing the same thing on the right. Then, walking away from the camera, I did the star shapes overhead.

All the lights are attached to an old mop stick, so I can extend my reach, which also allows me to create fairly uniform arcs and sphere shapes.

Saturday, January 5

Vermonters invade New Hampshire to support John Edwards

This is primarily a photo blog: a group of Vermonters (including a not paltry contingent from Vermont's Green Mountain Daily) showed up in Lebanon, New Hampshire this morning to help out with the canvassing. Later, we got to see John Edwards speak, and had a real treat shortly after.

It was a day much colder than expected, and canvassing was fun. Everyone was incredibly polite to one another. We crossed a few paths with an Obama canvasser and wished each other good luck. Everyone we spoke to while canvassing was polite as well, and the common theme, even for people who weren't supporting Edwards was how nice it was to have a *good* set of choices this time around.

Below, I'll post about the speakers we had at the pre-canvassing as well as the treat we got with seeing Edwards, but first, probably one of the best portrait shots I've ever taken:

The whole photoset of photos from today can be seen here. I'm just posting a select few for the blog itself.

First, David Zucker, who was coordinating the volunteers in Lebanon:

People who do this sort of work are often overworked and overtired, but he was great.

After David, we got a cool speech from Matt Dunne, who ran for Lt. Governor in Vermont last time around and is an awesome progressive:

After Matt, we got Kevin Leahy (son of the senator Patrick Leahy), which was a treat:

Then, we got the fairly manic Ben Cohen (from Ben & Jerry's fame):

The idea was simple after this: we canvass for a bit and then we had reserved seats in the auditorium in front.

Here's what ended up happening though: the Fire Marshal shut us, and a large number of other Edwards supporters, out of the auditorium. So this was really disheartening; we had expected to have reserved seats, but no such luck. They were going to have us stand outside and meet with Edwards briefly but no one seemed to like that plan. Then they figured out that we could have an overflow room, and that as a thank you, we'd get to see Edwards speak briefly in the overflow room. They brought us in, we waited a bit, and then the candidate appeared, walking into the center of this gymnasium and standing on a chair to talk to us:

He spoke briefly, off the cuff, thanked everyone for coming and apologized for the overflow room, and then left again. I positioned myself to get the picture up top on his way out-- came out far better than I expected. We were all milling about, getting ready to head out, thinking it wasn't worth sticking around just to hear his speech pumped in through speakers.

Then something really surprising happened. He came running back into the room, without his jacket, and someone tossed him a basketball:

This was a real treat. We got to watch a presidential candidate just hang out before his speech, and have some fun, the afternoon before probably the most important debate of his political career:

He didn't seem to mind that he'd missed a few baskets, and he was as relaxed as I'd ever seen him.

So really, that's it. We headed back to quiet Vermont and over the next few days we'll be doing more campaigning, canvassing, etc. This was a real treat. I've worked for campaigns before but never got to see the candidate from this close.

I'm glad we did it and it was really fun, once you got over the bitter freezing ("Can I still feel my fingers? No, I can't!) cold. Yikes. Oh well. All for a good cause.

Friday, January 4

Friday Bird Blogging: Yellow Bellied Sapsucker

No time to write much of anything, but I'd never seen a sapsucker in the winter before December's Christmas Bird Count. Apparently, Sapsuckers do winter over some of the time, but it's not common. Per Cornell:

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is the only woodpecker in eastern North America that is completely migratory. Although a few individuals remain throughout much of the winter in the southern part of the breeding range, most head farther south, going as far south as Panama. Females tend to migrate farther south than do males.

As usual, clicking on the image brings you to a larger version.