Just because the sun has gone down doesn’t mean you have to put away your camera. In fact, quite a few shots I’ve taken at night have wound up being some of my favorites. Through the lens of a camera, the world looks a lot different. Shadows are deeper, light sources can seem brighter, colours get skewed, and with a couple of easy tricks, you can actually warp the time-space continuum!
Look at the above photo which took about 25 seconds to expose. If you look at any given point along where the tracks are -if you could see them, a big part of the train passed through it during the time of the exposure. But you can see right through it in some places! 25 seconds, and if they’re passing at roughly one car a second, that’s 25 freight cars. 25 freight cars all at once, occupying the same space -and yet in some places, you can see right through it! Jesus! 25 freight cars are there, but NOT there!
By introducing a basic Lorentz transformation with simple kinematics one could easily show that using mass and energy, it becomes mere child’s play to curve flat spacetime into a Pseudo-Riemannian manifold!
But don’t think about all that shit. Just take the picture.
A few years ago, the power went out in my neighborhood for a couple of hours. ‘Why freeze your balls off at home, when you can just as easily freeze them off outside taking pictures,’ I thought. Got a couple of reasonably clichéed long exposures of auto headlights, but with no extraneous (ambient?) light.
If you’ve got a camera that captures reasonably high ISOs (3200), with a lens that will open up to, say, f2, you don’t even need the tripod for other types of pictures. This next shot was taken just minutes after the Raptors had won the championship. Everybody seemed to want to have their picture taken.
If you shoot colour, the light that’s illuminating your subject will change the colour, or project a colour cast. Plus, because it’s coming from a different place other than the sky above, shadows are a lot different. Below, the left side has tungsten (yellow-ish) lighting, the right neon. (green-ish)
All you really need is a tripod, and a way to trigger the shutter on your camera without touching it. Self timer works, as does a cable release. My brand of camera, Fuji, has an app that lets me remotely trigger my shutter. You might even want to see if your camera has the ability to switch to ‘electronic’ shutter mode. That way, you don’t even get the tiny vibrations known as ‘shutter slap’ when firing off a shot.
There’s a hilarious scene in the outtakes from the Borat movie where he’s fucking with a grocery store clerk HARD, about the different types of cheese that the store stocks. (Actually, there’s probably only one type of cheese in the whole grocery store; ‘American’ cheese, which isn’t really cheese at all. It’s a fucking edible oil product.) To the clerk’s eternal credit, he never loses his shit. The guy’s either got the patience of Job, or else he’s had the life beaten out of hims so thoroughly, had every little dream that he ever had, crushed so savagely, that he coasts through life as an automaton safely, and permanently jammed in first gear.
Now that I think about it….. that clerk may actually have the entire meaning of existence figured out…..
Apropos of sweet fuck-all, here’s some pictures I’ve taken of some of the cheeses I’ve enjoyed over the years.
The above, which I rate as ‘nothing special’, other than the picture on the carton, is from France. You gotta love Charles VII, for no other reason that he married Anne of Brittany, completely ignoring the slight inconvenience that she was already married to Maximillian I!
“But I’m all ready married!!”
“Uh, yeah, no you’re not. NOW, you’re married. To ME!”
Jesus Fucking Christ! Who’s idea was it to put the ultra-creepy-ass monk on the lid?
Portuguese cheese. I’m a fucking poet… From the Azores. I’ve been to that island -Terceira. Tasted like the cheese I had there…
Canadian Camembert. Yay! Our French are just as good as your French! Lovely pastoral scene on the wrapper. In fact, it’s pretty much exactly what I see when I turn around and look out my back window.
France-land Camembert. Big points for the overloaded burrow on the box.
England represent! Tasted like a medium cheddar. No fancy packaging here, please. We’re English.
Three goats gracing the wrapper of… you guessed it… Goat’s Cheese.
Finally, some Italian cheese. This stuff was great heated up, melted, or even burned!!
Oka! Apparently, Canada is… ok… QUEBEC is famous for this shit. Was good.
Brie! The cheese with no taste! When you want to seem ‘continental,’ but not that ‘continental.’ Eat this cheese, and the damsel on the lid promises to marry you. ….until Charles VII comes along…
Double Brie. Get’s flattened under the other groceries in your shopping bag…
English Lancashire cheese. Like Stilton mixed with Mozzarella.
I know you’ve been patiently waiting for it…. The foulest stinking cheese of the lot! This stuff -looking like a Korean war era landmine- is hideously vile. Monks Head? They should have called it ‘Monks bunghole, if he didn’t wash his feet for a month, and shoved them up his own ass.’
Christ, this shit was ghastly, but, if you can get it into your mouth, it’s actually quite good! What does that say about the Swiss? About me?
And notice that clever cheese shaving tool that the monks are using? Now you know where their retarded haircuts come from. “When you’re finished shaving that slab of shit you call cheese, gimme back my trimmer. Brother Guignol needs a little off the top!”
My favorite. Lion Heart. Firm, tangy, with a nice thick skin.
Happy little goat.
Another happy little goat.
French Brie with an image of a mid 20s Vito Corleone…
More Quebec cheese from our friends near Oka Que. Non-scary monk.
Oka. Maybe I’m biased, but all of the cheeses produced in Quebec tasted pretty good to me.
So, what’s in my fridge right now? A giant brick of imported Parmesan, and what looks to be a 1/20th scale of a diving board slab of marble. You know, the cheese for people who can’t make up their minds. It’s Pamela’s. It’s the only cheese she’ll eat -which is perfect for me, because then I don’t have to worry that she’ll finish off my precious exotics. Actually, I lied. She likes Parmesan too. But only the shit that comes in a can.
You might think that because I have a picture of a cat on the home page of this website that I have a special fondness for them. I might reinforce that thought by telling you that I have two cats of my own.
Well, you’d be mistaken.
(By the way, the cat on the home page is a photo I took in Rome, back in the ’90s of a scrawny little warrior I found wandering the streets. Rome has had a long history of street/feral cats, which in a lot of cases are tended to by older women who regularly bring them food. I saw this old stray near the Piazza Navona, who caught my attention with his scruffy look, missing ear, and half a tail -not shown. As I slowly approached to try and get a picture, he didn’t try to run, or even flinch. In fact, it was like I wasn’t even there. He didn’t even give a shit about me, which I respected. Fittingly, I named him Sparticat! No particular reason why he’s on the home page; I just liked him, and the picture, and I had to put something there.)
The above cat is one of mine. I call him Gumby. But that’s not his real name. Both of our cats have names bestowed upon them by my wife -which I quickly discard, and call them what I feel like calling them. Cat number two I call Junior, because he’s the second one we imprisoned, and the younger of the two.
Gumby has the typical personality that you’d expect when you think about a cats temperament: aloof, somewhat standoff-ish, and oblivious to things that don’t directly concern him. In other words, he thinks he’s done what most cat’s think they’ve done to their jailors: made them their bitch. ‘Give me my water and food, and then piss off. I’ll come to you when I want to be cuddled, which, by the way, I don’t. I just want some of the heat your radiating.’
Although I didn’t ever actually see any of the little bastards, apparently, there were mice here in my flat when I moved in. Gumby took care of that posthaste. I’d see him patiently waiting, staring under the stove or fridge for endless hours. And he was always happy to show off his latest victim.
Junior, on the other hand, is very un-catlike. He’s more like an incredibly stupid six month old dog. He snores, he falls off of things, he runs and forgets to stop when he comes to a wall, he constantly squawks like a bloated chicken, and he’s accident prone.
Who would have known that this:
Would turn into this:
…or (what I call his ‘Fighter Pilot period’) this:
Yup, he’s been in the ‘cone of shame’ twice.
These days, he just dodders around the house, because he’s ballooned into an endomorphic slob. However, his noggin never gained any flab so he now sports the startling appearance of a bona-fide pinhead!
Even with his swollen, corpulent bulk, he still seems to think he can challenge Gumby to a play fight from time to time. He still gets his ass handed to him, only now it’s even easier. Gumby may have one foot in the grave (he’s about 15 yrs old, so that’s what? 914 in people years?) but he still whips Junior’s ass every time with a quick left-right combination, followed with a loud hiss telling him to fuck off.
I suppose, they do serve a purpose after all. I’ve got two captive victims on which to practice my photography. Begrudgingly, I guess I could admit to actually liking them. A bit.
But make no mistake about it: should the wife and I come down with this nasty Covid 19 that’s currently ravaging the entire planet, and quietly cash in our chips here at home, once they’d finished whatever is in their bowls, both cats would start in on us.