photography, serendipity

Two Visual Illusions

Follow the photons.  The backstory of one illusion begins far away and ends on a window pane.  The backstory of another illusion turns day into night, but not in the same way as the challenge that inspired this post.
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A ghostly translucent squid seems to hover in midair between the viewer and nesting herons.  No, I did not combine a heron image with a squid image in my photo editor.

HeronSquid_581x684
The photo is of a page from National Wildlife magazine, taped to window glass and lit from the outside.  (The page blocks a reflection of the sun from a neighbor’s window.)  The squid looks a good deal closer than the herons despite being farther away, but only by the thickness of the page.  The illusion in real life is just like the illusion in the photo.

The photo below illustrates a haiku about a bright full moon shining thru autumn leaves.  Is it really the moon or just a flood light?  Neither.

Chiaroscuro_moon_443x449

The photo was taken by daylight.  The sun was above and behind me, but the light was dappled by unseen leaves (between me and the sun) before reaching the leaves I photographed.  I was hoping for some chiaroscuro and got more than expected by sheer dumb luck.  Most of the photographed leaves were in shade.  Thanks to some unusually reflective green leaves that were in bright sun behind the colored ones, those colored leaves seem to be transmitting light from behind them when they are actually reflecting light from in front of them (and behind me).

The photos displayed above were chosen from among several exposure settings, then edited only by cropping.  More extensive editing may be needed to create other illusions or to compensate for differences between how cameras and eyes see things.  In particular, consider the challenge that inspired this post:

Illusions ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #213

Here are smaller versions of the images displayed in the challenge:

Desaturating a deliberately underexposed photo turned day into night.  At any single exposure setting, a photo of the contrasty daylight scene would be either washed out in light areas or blacked out in dark areas.  (Maybe both.)  Editing merged several exposures to approximate how the scene looked to human eyes.  Visit the challenge for more details on HDR editing and a fine haiku with no technical prerequisites.

 

humor, photography

Gourd-geous Nativity Scene

The gourds in the foreground are kneeling shepherds.  No, I did not take this photo last fall and save it for the Xmas season.  The backstory is more interesting than that.  It’s a minor miracle.
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nativity_30_840x737
I took the original photo on 2019-02-25 after noticing that my display of 5 gourds and a few rocks looked a little like a Nativity display.  (I edited the photo to have more of the chiaroscuro in some old Nativity paintings.)  The gourds were the survivors from the 10 gourds I had bought on 2018-09-24, still looking good after 154 days.  Those gourds were like the temple’s oil supply in the Hanukkah story.

Sure, it’s unlikely that gourds will last 154 days.  But unlikely things do sometimes happen.  Don’t bet on when or where.

Have a Merry Xmas

and take it in stride if the New Year brings U yet another illustration of the statistical truism

unlikely-life

Unlikely Life | Word Porn Quote

haiku, photography, serendipity

Between Seasons in 2019

Where I live, 11-19 is usually too late for fall colors and too early for snowflakes.  Recent past and near future met when Fortune smiled on an out-of-season CDHK challenge posted 2019-11-14.
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Carpe Diem #1781 The Quest For A New Masterpiece Continues … colorful autumn

garden-flag-snow_840x1126

Between Seasons #1
|Lost autumn colors,
|but garden flag remembers.
|Snow on power lines.

power-lines-snow_840x721

The rules and examples for this challenge allow marking the cut with punctuation and tweaking the cut when swapping the initial and final lines.  Let’s do that.

power-lines-snow_840x721

Between Seasons #2
|Snow on power lines.
|But garden flag remembers
|lost autumn colors.

garden-flag-snow_840x1126

haiku, humor, photography

Enemy of My Enemy

To a female mosquito, I look like lunch: a big bag of nice warm blood.  So the mosquito is my enemy.  But I also have a friend.  My haiku about their interaction could respond to a prompt for either the friend or the enemy.
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Carpe Diem #1762 Mosquitoes …

One day in 2015, I happened to arrange my lunch veggies so as to look a little like a dragonfly, with snow peas as wings.  Hmmm.  Maybe I could pull more veggies from the fridge and make an arrangement that looks a lot like a dragonfly to me.  (No real dragonfly would be fooled.)  This little project reminded me that a dragonfly is the enemy of my enemy, and thus my friend.

Dragonfly_480x481

What’s for Lunch?
|Mosquitoes in flight
|are seen as meat on the hoof
|by a dragonfly.

 

fiction, humor, serendipity

Time Warp in 2019

A little of the best from the past will come back in the near future, aided by the release of the second annual volume of “The Rabbit Hole” (an anthology of weird stories).
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For several years before and after 1960, I watched many episodes of the TV shows The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  The best of them were imaginative and well-crafted, not just weird or scary.  Some episodes had ironic twists or clever ways of conveying hints about how to cope with a nasty world.  Some endure on YouTube.

Memories of those old shows resurfaced when I read some of the shorter stories in The Rabbit Hole, Volume 2.  (Will wait until I have the ink-on-paper version of RH-2 before reading the whole thing.)  The ambiance and a few details in two stories were strong triggers: … Puppet Theater … for The Twilight Zone and Carpaccio for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Various kinds of humor often appeared in those old shows, and RH-2 continues that tradition.  The humor in RH-2 can be cynical (as in A Towering Tale), dark (as in The Service Call), or light (as in The Apple Cosmos and Entanglements).  In old shows and new book, the humor is more than just giggles at pratfalls.

Click here to find out how to preorder RH-2 at a discount from Amazon.  (For other retailers, click on the image below.)  Don’t worry if U miss the discount.  Both the e-book and the printed book will still be quite affordable after the release on 2019-10-01, and there are plenty of other things to worry about.

Rabbit Hole Vol Two cover

Serendipity in 2019: I got this post’s image for The Twilight Zone from the web page announcing the show’s revival with streaming technology.  But I settled for a discontinued tee shirt design that approximates my vague memory of the logo for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  Whatever works.

haiku, humor, photography, serendipity

Beyond Rules

While obeying many rules is common and often helpful, there are very few rules that must always be obeyed. I had thought that poems in haiku form must have 3 lines. Then I wrote a 2-line haiku.
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¯\_(ツ)_/¯
naro-h-v_18pc wide-18pc-392x442

Rules Went Away
!Doorknob meteor shower:
!mundane miracle.

Have U read Alice in Wonderland ?  Expecting me to refrain from reworking an initial idea in my wordsmith’s forge is like expecting Alice to refrain from following a white rabbit who looks at a watch and frets about being late.  Ain’t.  Gonna.  Happen.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Rules Came Back
!Meteor shower
!seen by day in a doorknob:
!mundane miracle.

humor, photography, science, serendipity

Serendipity with Squid

Did I superimpose 2 images to create a (clumsy) visual metaphor about the interconnectedness of life?  Nope.  The story begins millions of miles away.  It ends on a window pane.
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HeronSquid_581x684Hmmm?  A ghostly translucent squid seems to hover in midair between the viewer and nesting herons.  No, I did not combine a heron image with a squid image in my photo editor.

The story begins millions of miles away, where the sun emits photons even more copiously than the pols emit factoids.  Minutes later, a tiny fraction of the photons bounce off a neighbor’s window, pass thru my window, and hit me in the eye.  There are many ways I would love to emulate people like Bach or Galileo; going blind is not one of them.

Yes, I could pull the drapes. But only a small portion of my window needs to be obscured.  Would rather not waste winter sunshine.  Yes, I could buy a window decal.  Most of the decals I have seen are cutesy.  The rest make a statement:

I am as ugly as a warthog with zits,
but the jerk who owns this dump
bought me as a decoration.  Ha!

Of course, I am dissing only the decals I have seen, not any other decal U may have and like.

The Dec/Jan 2016 issue of National Wildlife magazine has photos from the annual NWF photo contest, including a photo of nesting herons by Mario Labado and a photo of a squid by Jackie Reid.  I read the magazine on paper (yes, I am that old), and it so happens that the photos are on opposite sides of the same thin sheet, w/o much else to clutter what is seen when bright light passes thru.  The fraction of duplex printed sheets that look at all good when both sides are seen at once is like the fraction of photons emitted by the sun that bounce off my neighbor’s window:  tiny.

So I cut out the sheet and taped it to my window.  The image of the squid is actually on the far side; the illusion of being closer than the herons is the same in my house as in my photo.

The composite image is indeed clumsy as a visual metaphor for the interconnectedness of life, but it does tone down the excess sunlight.  It cost nothing beyond what I already spent to help support the NWF, and it looks better than a warthog with zits.

haiku, humor, photography

Various Viewpoints

To a female mosquito, I look like lunch: a big bag of nice warm blood.  From her viewpoint, my birdbath was a good place to lay eggs after lunch.  But then I rigged a hose to drip into it.  The drip also made the water better for washing down a bird’s caterpillar lunch.  I have another view of what makes a good lunch; my friend has yet another view.
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To a female mosquito, I look like lunch:  a big bag of nice warm blood.  The bag is annoyingly mobile, but she is also mobile and is quite good at using a mix of cues (chemical, thermal, and visual) to home in on the bag.  Then it will be time to lay eggs.  From her viewpoint, my birdbath was a good place for egg laying until I rigged a hose to drip into it.

birdbath-ripple_840x312
The dripping also keeps the birdbath full and makes it more attractive to the birds, who consider it a good place for a sip of water and sometimes a bath.  From the birds’ viewpoint, it never was a good place for egg laying.  I am glad that the mosquitoes have finally come around to the birds’ opinion.

Blood for lunch does not appeal to me.  Neither do caterpillars, so I do not compete with any past or present birdbath visitors for food.  I eat something healthy (from a human viewpoint) and finish off with something obscenely healthy: a few raw carrot sticks and then a few raw snow peas.  (That lets me get away w/o brushing my teeth after lunch.)  I also view the veggies as colorful objects to be arranged in a very temporary display on the plate before they become ugly mush that is mercifully out of sight.

A few days ago, I happened to arrange my lunch veggies so as to look a little like a dragonfly, with snow peas as wings.  Hmmm.  Maybe I could pull more veggies from the fridge and make an arrangement that looks a lot like a dragonfly to me. (No real dragonfly would be fooled.) This little project reminded me that a dragonfly is the enemy of my enemy, and thus my friend.

Dragonfly_480x481

What’s for Lunch?
|Mosquitoes in flight
|are seen as meat on the hoof
|by a dragonfly.