Those bad clouds

What happens when you’re super excited about something, and then it doesn’t happen? That energy has to go somewhere, right? Last week, I decided to put my disappointment about missing the lunar eclipse into taking crazy double exposure photos of Tarantula and the moon. It was possibly more challenging than photographing the eclipse itself, AND it made me giggle, which cheered me up.

It all started last Tuesday evening, when I was nerding out about the Super Blue Blood Moon! I love taking pictures of the moon (as y’all know), and lunar eclipses (the “blood moon” part) are especially fun to photograph. Unlike a solar eclipse, you don’t need crazy equipment to keep your eyes and your camera safe. You just point the camera at the moon and click click click click. Yayyyy. Cool moon pictures.

The total eclipse was supposed to start at… 4:50 am on Wednesday morning here in Washington state. My friend K and I planned to get up at 4 am and meet up so we could witness/photograph the wonder together. Great plan!

4 am is quite a bit earlier than I am used to getting up, though, so I decided to pack my camera stuff the night before. That way, I could roll out of bed, grab my fancy new camera bag, and go see the moon!

I was getting everything ready when I looked up and saw the super moon watching me through the window. It was pretty neat. Some trick of the light made a mini reflection of the super moon right underneath the moon itself. I liked it because it was still a pretty detailed reflection. So I took a few photos. But not too many because I thought I would have way cooler ones in the morning.

I love my little blurry mini moon. It almost looks like the mini moon IS the moon and then there’s some crazy bright planet/star lurking behind it!

BUT when I woke up at 4 am, it was CLOUDY. Cobalt, nice husband that he is, even went on a mini walk outside to see if our apartment was blocking the moon. He came back with sad news. No eclipse for me.

I was so grumpy on Wednesday. People were posting such cool photos online. Blood moon over an observatory, blood moon over the ocean, blood moon, blood moon, blood moon! It seemed like everyone saw it! And yet, I had nothing. It’s not like I slept through my alarm, or I forgot to charge my camera battery. It’s just that sometimes, these things happen. It was out of my control.

On Wednesday night, when the moon rose, I glared at it. It was still kind of cloudy, but you could see the moon. It was taunting me. Oh now you decide to show up, moon.

A part of me suggested that maybe I take some full moon pictures anyway. My camera was already prepped for moon photos. So I grudgingly set everything up and took a few photos of the moon from our deck.

Dang. That’s a sweet moon.

Tarantula watched me from the back door. That’s when I got the idea. What if… I took a picture of the moon and then, using the multiple exposure mode on my camera, took a picture of Tarantula so that it looked like she was watching it?

Crazy challenge accepted! Finally all my grumpiness had somewhere to go: This photo was going to require some serious planning.

The way the multiple exposure mode works is that it takes two (or more, depending on what you tell it) consecutive photos and smashes them together into one photo. So I had to take two perfect photos back to back. Which was hard because the moon and the inside of my house are lit quite differently. Also Tarantula is quite a bit closer to my camera than the moon is. ALSO… I had to remember where I framed the moon in the photo and then somehow get my cat to look in that general direction.

It took two different lenses (take picture of moon, switch lens to portrait lens, adjust settings, take picture of cat) and a lot of trial and error.

This was my first attempt. Moon looks good, but T’s not really looking in the right direction. Also I didn’t really like the closet in the background behind her.
Cobalt was on cat-attention duty. He tried: saying KITTY!, snapping his fingers, and getting out her favorite butterfly toy to get her to look where I wanted her to look. This picture happened because she leapt out of the frame for the butterfly. I was going to redo the whole series anyway, so I just snapped a quick second picture of her and the camera smashed the two together. I think it looks like a record cover. What would the title be?

I’m still sad that I didn’t get to see the eclipse. But at least I got to have fun with my camera, which is one of the things I was looking forward to. I’ve been trying to take pictures that tell a story. Sure, a photo of the eclipse would have told a “Potassium got up super early so she could see this sweet lunar phenomenon” story. But these photos tell a pretty neat story too. I mean, how often do cats get to look at a moon in their own living rooms?

Now it’s your turn! Did you see the eclipse? What’s something that’s disappointed you lately? How did you handle your feelings?

Self portrait

HOW IS IT ALREADY DECEMBER?!

It feels like the eclipse was just yesterday!

The sun goes down SO EARLY now, guys. You know it’s sad days when you’re in Seattle on the first day of December and you think “Wow! The sun is up so late here!” :-/

Anyway, on Sunday, I was sitting in our office so that the last glimpse of sun hit me in the face. It was great – so warm and bright. Then I looked up and saw that the sun was illuminating my face in a reflection in the window. I decided to try to capture it with my camera. I think it turned out pretty well. I love that you can’t even see the camera. There are just some Potassium eyes hovering there. Wahaaaaa.

In case you wanted to see the self-portrait part even closer – here is a crop.

Creeeeeepyyyyyy. Where’d that Potassium come from?

Apparently it’s a creepy-themed week. On Saturday, Cobalt and I took advantage of the super low hanging fog we had to make some silly monster flicks. Then I made the creepy self portrait. And then, when I tried to photograph this weekend’s super moon, the clouds decided that it needed to be creepy too.

Going outside

Man how can you top last week’s whale post? I don’t even know. But it’s Tuesday so here we go!

Guys… it’s getting closer to winter. The sun comes up as I’m driving to work and it sets before I get home. It’s causing kind of a panicked situation for me because I spent the whole summer running and hiking outside! Now I have to leave work early, go outside, and then telework to get my hours in if I want any non-dark outdoors time on the weekdays. I’m a little stressed out about it (first world problem for sure).

So this weekend, when we woke up and it was a beautiful sunny (and not too cold) day, I dragged Cobalt out for a run. We went to my new favorite trail, which, after half a mile of uphill, winds around the side of a mountain hill and is in direct sunlight pretty much all day in the winter. Lovely. I could feel the layers of stress floating away from me as the sun warmed my skin. Happy Potassium.

Cobalt running
Go Cobalt, go! I love that this trail is cut into the side of the mountain/hill.

Then on Sunday afternoon, we headed back to hike the front of the mountain hill. We got there as the sun was starting to go down, and this epic gold color washed across the whole trail. Cobalt and I kept stopping to try to capture it on our phones. We had some success, as you can see from the that top photo this week. At least you could tell the lighting was epic. But really, I think you had to be there. The color was fantastic. Maybe I’ll post that pic again.

I swear this picture wasn’t photoshopped.

Then on our way back down to the car, the sun gave us this gorgeous wave goodbye.

Such beautiful colors… Sounds like the sunset was equally as beautiful in Colorado on Sunday night!

Winter is often hard for me – I am not great at being cold (though I had a sock epiphany recently so my feet are happier) and I like to go play outside whenever I want. I think this year, I’m going to have to come up with more of a strategy to keep me happy and healthy throughout this season.

What do you do? Does it involve treadmills? I feel so reluctant about them.

PS: Today is my friend S’s bday! Yaaaaaaay! Happy day, friend! I know it’s a big one so I hope you celebrate in a crazily amazing way. :D

Fireworks from the sky!!!

I took this picture during a storm a few years ago in Boulder…

Hey everyone, sorry about the crazy post schedule this week. Anyway, today I wanted to talk about lightning because last weekend, Cobalt and I were driving home from a movie (Joss Whedon’s Much Ado about Nothing) and a vicious storm was moving into town. There was lightning everywhere! It was pretty cool actually – it was like nature’s fireworks show just in time for the 4th of July! The storm turned out to be pretty epic too. As soon as Cobalt and I got in the house, it started pouring and then hailing with this HUGE marble-sized hail. We had to run back outside and rescue our little plants from death hail!

Plants hanging out in the kitchen during the crazy storm…

Does anyone have any fun plans for the 4th of July? We have a 3rd of July fireworks celebration here in California that we will be attending tonight. Exciting!

Epic Weekend!

Wow… Cobalt and I had a great weekend! We drove to see his family for the fourth of July and decided to spend the rest of the weekend frolicking with his family, catching up with some of our friends we haven’t seen in a while (we hadn’t seen some of them in almost 4 years!), […]

Reflections on a busy week

WOW! It’s been a while since I wrote. Thanks grad school for making my life insane for a bit there. It’s funny. I am done with all my qualifying exams and my classes so all I have left to graduate is “just” research. That’s right. Do enough research to be able to publish two scientific papers on new findings and then I can graduate! If only it were that easy… Sometimes the “just research” part of grad school is awesome. You go in, get your work done, you go home, no sweat. Life is great. Sometimes the “just research” part is insane… so insane it makes you wish you still had classes left because at least classes have a finite length and obvious expectations (write this paper? DONE. Study for and take this test? DONE… vs… I looked at bacteria under a microscope for HOURS and I took HUNDREDS OF PICTURES and I still have NO idea what anything means… Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?). Anyway, you get it. Plus we packed up our whole lab and moved it a mile away into a new building. There was some moving drama in there last week too.

ANYWAY – I have been really sad that I haven’t been able to write recently. So much stuff has been going on AND I got tagged by Karyl to write a post on marriage and I am worried that she thinks I forgot about it. Don’t worry Karyl, I’ve been thinking about it all week and I hopefully will be able to finally publish my thoughts tomorrow or Thursday this week! Yay! So, I talked about grad school being dumb and moving being time consuming… What have else I been up to, you ask?

Well, besides apparently freaking out small children at church on Sunday, here are a few things I did since the last time I wrote.

1) Had really good barbecue in Longmont, CO. Seriously. Amazing. Best BBQ I’ve had so far in the state. Go check them out. Obviously skip this recommendation if you are a vegetarian.

2) Moved the lab – already talked about this but here are some pictures:

Old Lab – see that big thing of pink bubble wrap? It was probably 3 times as big when we got it and then we used it and another whole roll up moving all our fragile stuff… intense… There is nothing worse than trying to get lab tape off of bubble wrap for your information…


New Lab – my new bench bubble wrap free! In other new lab news, I learned today that it is about a 2 mile bike ride to the new building and it is almost alllll downhill on the way there. Fun times coming home this summer… :-/

3) Saw President Obama speak at my school. Regardless of your politics, how cool is it to get to see a president speak in person? Obama pictures in a minute. I just want to emphasize on here that part of the awesomeness of all of this was actually all the waiting in line to get into the events center.


We had to wait for the bus…


In the line, we had a race across a random patch of grass/compared our weird feet/did other silly things. If you look closely in the top left hand corner, you can see the line behind us…


We were all distracted by this helicopter that we thought Obama was in but then he drove right past us…


Obama on the jumbo screen of the events center. I’d say that’s a typical Obama face…


Live Obama and jumbo screen Obama in the same shot! Because our lab move day was the same day as Obama’s speech and because that was the same day my boss decided to tell me how much data analysis she needed me to do in the next few days, we didn’t get to get in line until later in the afternoon so we didn’t get the most amazing of seats. But you can still see Obama!

4) Took a road trip with Cobalt to see his family

On the road again… Cobalt and I enjoyed rocking out to crazy mashups (courtesy of Milkman) as we drove along…

Anything exciting going on in your lives? Do you obsessively photograph everything like I do? Discuss!

On the docket for tomorrow (hopefully… or Thursday… sorrrrrrrry) – What do I look forward to in my marriage? Stay tuned. It should be exciting… I have been thinking about what to say for a week now…

Colorado has beautiful sunsets


Yesterday, Cobalt and I witnessed the most beautiful sunset! Unfortunately I was driving at the time but fortunately I had my DSLR in the car and Cobalt was ready to take pictures! It was kind of a fun experience with me driving and being like “Oooooo! Take a picture of this! Oooooo…” while Cobalt manipulated the camera and got the pictures. I like being a photography team with you, Cobalt! About a half an hour later, I got even more ideas for fun pictures but alas… still driving. Funny how driving brings out my creative side… In this top picture we see a monster hidden in the clouds… Do you see it?!

Below is another one of our pictures – this one is purely Cobalt-inspired and his favorite of our series…

Do you ever get super creative while you are driving? Are you excited that it’s Friday? Are you going to watch the Oscars on Sunday?

Wind: the cloud artist

So one of my really good friends is visiting Boulder for a conference and Boulder is just not playing nice for her! We had 60-70 mile an hour winds allllll day yesterday! Seriously… I almost got blown away walking to the bus stop yesterday (and Cobalt had a very hard time biking to work – at one point, he was neither going forward nor backward thanks to the craziness of the wind). Anyway, one of my favorite things about really windy days here (actually pretty much my only favorite thing about windy days) is that the wind does funny things to the clouds. Usually it makes them crash into the backs of the mountains so they come splaying over the mountains in this really pretty way. Yesterday though, it was doing something completely different… look at that weird cloud shape toward the bottom. It’s so streamlined and unfluffy-cloud-like. It is so mysterious to me. I was kind of in awe as I was walking from the bus stop so I stopped at took this picture on my cell phone. I think the colors in this picture are very strange…

What is your least favorite kind of weather and is there anything about it that makes it tolerable (like me and the way the wind shapes the clouds)?