Over the winter, I went on a bit of a sunset time-lapsing spree. I am hoping to continue this trend, but have been kind of lazy about finding nice places to shoot from. The overlook on the north end of Burial Mounds Park, here in Pig’s Eye(the original name of Saint Paul, MN) has been My go to spot thus far. It’s a seriously awesome view of My home town, but I’m left feeling the need to change up the scenery..
Well, here’s another sunset from said location, taken in late March. I was shooting a pretty good sequence, but stopped it at an awkward spot, in order to shoot the second sequence. Which turned out to be pretty magical, less the single frame with an airplane in the foreground. =\ Suppose that’s the price You pay for shooting through the landing path of a small airport. Above, is a layered image. Using StarStax to merge every 25th picture from the second time lapse. Below are the first and last shots from the day. If You hit the “HD” button on the media player and watch it on vimeo’s site, it looks slightly better…
Saint Paul, Minnesota. Downtown, as seen from the overlook, above Univeristy Ave, next to the state capitol building. This 15 second time lapse took about 30 minutes to shoot.
I wandered out to find a good spot to shoot the moon rise with My Mom and an old neighbor. The first place that came to mind was a dud. The second however turned out perfectly. Except the fact that I had forgoteen to bring My tripod. Even so, I broke out the 70-200mm and applied a 2x multiplier, so I was shooting at 140-400mm, on a cropped image sensor. Which is roughly 220-600mm in terms of a 35mm camera. Not something I would suggest in a hand-held scenerio. It was VERY hard to get a shot that wasn’t terribly blurry. With all that zoom range, I still had to crop all of the images here, I think You can only get good close, detailed shots of the moon with a telescope.. Unlike most people, we went out the day after the moon was full. Which was kind of stupid, since the day before was clear and the day I was shooting on was cloudy! We waited, missing the actual rising from the horizon, due to the clouds. After more waiting, there were a couple of gaps that revealed our lovely Luna. Here are all five of the 131 pictures I took, that weren’t a pathetic blur. Next time, I will not forget a tripod…
Four hours of lightning, rain and swirling winds. Both of My cameras snapping away the whole time and this is the only bolt they captured. Maybe next time there will be more success.
This has not been a good year in the garden for Me.. Most of the food stuffs I planted, did not take very well. Unlike last year, we didn’t work any compost or peat moss into the raised beds. I think that, in combination with the nearly two month delay in the arrival of spring, immediately followed by several weeks of extreme heat, really set things back. The carrots and parsnips have been puny and pathetic. The peas and beans have grown in a rather lack-lustre manor and the peppers, bak choi, spinach and tomatoes have been a joke. Even My citrus trees suffered from the odd weather. I started putting them Outside once the temps at night seemed to stop going below 55 degrees. Only to have My older keifer lime and younger blood orange bitten by frost. Happily, both have bounced back very well. Unlike the apple tree, which openned most of it’s flowers in a beautiful display, on a day temps dippped into the 30s. Needless to say, at least 75% of the pottential bounty promptly died off. With such slim pickings, the squirrels, who usually get most the apples, have taken nearly all of them.
I planted two varities of tomatoes for 2012, a cherry type called Gardener’s Delight and Cherokee Purple, which is often compared to Brandywine, but with a more robust flavor. Both were started in planters, indoors, late in the winter as usual. Then, spring didn’t bother showing up and they started dying. So I planted another round and waited for the weather to start warming, but it didn’t. Seven weeks after the ‘normal’ planting time, and 5 weeks after starting the second round of tomatoes, I finally put some in the ground. I should have just sewn in seeds, but I planted the best looking of the seedlings I had growing, even though they were stunted from being in tiny starter planters for 5 weeks. After 2 weeks showing no signs of change, both varieties started growing! The first flowers did not appear until the end of June. Both plants grew to about 2 feet, kicked out about half a dozen flowers and are yeilding 3 to 6 tomatoes. They have stopped growing taller and aren’t really flowering. It’s sad… Last Year I grew a pair of Hybrid Zebra Cherry Tomatoes, which are a cross of green and red zebra stripe cherry tomatoes. They grew taller than Me, delivering 1200ish amazingly yummy little morsels. Needless to say, I am quite disappointed in this year’s crop. Then, the very day I was going to pick My three Cherokee Purples, some hateful little critter stole two of them! Leaving them, partially eaten, on the ground nearby. So My crop is a solitary, scarred tomato that grew to only half the size of a usual C. P.
And so, in the twilight hours of the last day in July, I partook in the suprizingly delicious little thing. I’m not really a tomato person.. I grow them, mostly, cause they are good for You. But this thing was really good! I however, did it no justice. With My stomach growling, I broke out some tortillas, cheese, spinach and some ‘pulled bbq chicken’ from a plastic tub. It was pretty good, for a 4am food excursion. While eating it, I just couldn’t help but feel like I should have made something, well, better.. I wasted the best tomato I’ve ever tasted, the single fruit of My months long labor, on a bit of pre-packaged, over sugar’ed, microwaved, remnants of meat. At least I ate some of the tomato and snapped a couple pictures before constructing dinner. If things go better next year and they give more bounty and viable seeds, I’ll grow these Cherokee Purple Tomatoes forever!
Here in the Twin Cities, there are many restaurants for foodies and hungry people to choose from. In My neighborhood, there are several notable establishments, along with tons of others, lining the milage of University Avenue. This five mile strip of ‘Uni’ has been home to two fine Saint Paul traditions.. Until a few years ago, University was THE cruising place for car enthusiasts of all denominations. A decades long hot spot, with crowds on any given friday or saturday numbering in the five figures. Naturally, those people needed to eat, so there has been no shortage of the other of University’s defining features… Family restaurants!
For many of My friends, Tay Ho is the place to go. Providing the right combination of tasty food, nicely sized portions and reasonable prices. They have risen to be one of the best places in Saint Paul for family dining and for those who simply wish to perform acts of sheer gluttony, without paying a ton. Sadly, all of the food establishments along University have been hurting. Starting around the turn of the century, the city started ‘aggressively discouraging’ the cruising crowd from using the traditional strip as their gathering point. Then, two years ago and ongoing today, from the U of M campus, to the State Capitol grounds, the city started to install a light rail line. The cruising scene has scattered and effectively died. Leaving restaurants hanging, struggling to get more people coming through their doors. Only to be discouraged by the fact that University is ripped up and under construction for a total of three or four years. It’s been rough for most of the small businesses along University. Both of My favorite food spots have closed down, for good.
So, when a friend asked Me to take some pictures of food for Her favorite restaurant, I was happy to jump on it. Clearly, I’ve taken pictures of food before, but not food cooked by someone else. So it was a rather fun experiment for Me. I’ve long been a fan of Vietnamese food. To have so many dishes placed on a table before Me, one after another, round after round, was a wonderful experience. The cooking at Tay Ho is handled by a father and son duo, with other family members filling in where they’re needed. There was no money involved on this endeavor, the food was the payment. I didn’t set up any lights, just placed things on a table about 5 feet from the solitary window in a back room of the restaurant and started taking pictures of everything that came before Me. It’s obvious why so many people in frogtown flock to this place. The people in the kitchen here, care about the food they prepare and it shows. Next time I want a large bowl of soup, I know where I’m going!