Sunday, May 22, 2011

Two Days in May

Spanning four generations: Adam Harrington, Grace Harrington, Calvin Murphy.

We had an all-too-rare happy circumstance at Ft. Harrington this weekend: a visit from part of the Atlanta branch of the family tree.

My late mother's youngest brother, Calvin, and my cousin Edith's husband, Joe, came by for an afternoon and evening as part of a two-week swing through California. They arrived here after a four-day culinary tour of San Francisco -- but we fed them anyway -- organized by the Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) organization. The next day, they were on their way to Southern California for more action.

Their visit to Boulder Creek was on a Friday, but Grace's teacher let her skip school for the day to come meet her great-great-uncle Calvin, and her Uncle Adam (being his own boss) provided her ride from the East Bay.

The memories and the laughter flowed abundantly, and Grace had the grace (young lady that she's becoming) to listen attentively and smile a lot. She also impressed me with some astronomy that she's been learning, not just of the memorizing factoids kind, but that's a topic for a different time -- the point here is that she's fast becoming perceptive as well as smart, and that served her well on Friday.

In a neat small-world coincidence, a very longtime close friend of Joe's -- childhood and college -- lives in Boulder Creek, so he was invited to the gathering, too. He and Joe spun some pretty good reminiscences about their college days in Southern California (including one from Joe's job as a meat delivery boy involving Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman). Their longtime connections to film and tv production had us all fascinated, but Adam especially so given his profession as a voice actor.

Clockwise from left: Joe, Diane, Calvin, and Dick enjoy the spaniels. If you click on this and view at a larger size, you'll see Kelsey's butt in the background as he watches Adam's posterior go up the walkway toward the gate to the road. Kelsey loves company, and is distressed when any seems to be leaving.

At some point in the late afternoon, one of our three guests -- I don't remember if it was Calvin, Joe, or Joe's friend Dick -- remarked on how rapidly the light changes here in the fort because of the surrounding tall sequoias. I woke early the next morning, just before sunrise, and that remark came back to me. That day, Saturday, was to be clear after the morning fog dissipated, so I decided to set up the camera to try my hand at a time-lapse through the day to see exactly how the light's patterns marched across at least part of the yard.

View of the time-lapser from the front (and the boy spaniel from the rear.)

I set up the tripod and camera to capture a view generally northward from one corner of the house toward the little rose garden with some of our redwoods providing backdrop. I set the camera's computer to take one exposure every two minutes and set the process in motion at 6:15am. I stopped the series when the fog started to come back in at 7:11, 390 photos later.

The result surprised and tickled me for the most part. The one disappointment was that I had selected too shaded an area for the exposure meter to monitor, so some of the foreground during midday is badly overexposed. One thing that I thought would be disappointing turned out to be an advantage: the wind picked up during the day, and I thought that would make leaves and branches move around too much from frame to frame. Turns out, on viewing, that was a big plus -- the trees and bushes appear to be dancing through the day.

View of the time-lapser from the rear.

The surprise was the four chickens. I knew they moved around during the day, but had never paid much attention to just how active they are. Lucky for us, they spent a lot of this particular day in the camera's field of view, rather than in any number of other places in the fort where they wouldn't have been seen.

View through the time-lapser.

You can view the result in the little box below here, of course, but it's really better viewed at higher resolution -- 720 or 1080p if your connection and patience will allow such a large download -- and in full-screen mode. If you don't, there's a lot of little detail trying to flash at you that you might miss, like this, for example:

Small detail, cropped from one of the time-lapse frames.

How ever you view it, watch it all the way to the end (it's only about three and a half minutes long.) The background still photo behind the music credit is worth the wait.