Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rainbow chase with Julia

Julia and I were on our way home from dinner in downtown Charleston when I pointed out the towering rain clouds we were heading into. "But it's OK because rain makes things grow," she said. Very true. A bit later, after it briefly poured, she said, "Look at that rainbow!" Thinking it was a lame, partial rainbow, I casually glanced to the sky opposite the sun and saw a brilliant, distinctive, complete double rainbow.
We stopped first at the closest open area: a Lowe's parking lot. I snapped photos with my phone. But it faded, and we drove home as I noted the mini rainbows in the mist kicked up by moving cars' tires. I talked about Roy G. Biv, but Julia already knew all the rainbow colors in the correct order. Can't tell her nothing.
Then we pulled into my community and saw another, though somewhat faint rainbow. Julia enjoyed the ride as I drove onto the raised sidewalk and took pictures.
She posed for a photo near the house. "Too bad I'm squinting," she said.
The rainbow eventually faded again, but Julia came up with a way to make sure it never goes away: She drew a picture with a colorful, full rainbow and the two of us, side by side, enjoying the view.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Severe thunderstorm over Charleston Harbor

A storm moved over Charleston Harbor early Monday evening, bringing lightning that was frequent at times. This was the view from Patriots Point.

A cargo ship floated under the bridge as lightning crawled through the sky above it.

Like most storms here in South Carolina, this one fizzled out as it neared the coast. Here's what was left of the gust front.

Made up of nine images, this panoramic view shows the bridge, a harbor tour vessel and the U.S.S. Yorktown, the museum ship at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Front-row seat to Charleston Harbor fireworks on the Fourth

Carrie, Julia and I visited some friends on the Fourth for some food, swimming and fireworks in downtown Charleston.
  Those friends and their friends live within walking distance from Charleston Harbor, over which the fireworks were shot.

So we walked to the Maritime Center, where a concrete pier juts into the water.
The crowd of spectators was manageable.
So, we got a clear view across the harbor.
The fireworks were blasted from the Mount Pleasant side of the harbor, giving people over there a slightly better view.
But we had some children who don't like loud noises, so a little distance was a good thing.
The only concern was that the little ones would tumble over the side of the pier because it did not have a railing at parts.
But some local firefighters were there watching the display from the pier as well, so any child overboard would have been rescued promptly.
As for the steady barrage of fireworks, they were pretty cool.

Some other towns' displays were visible in the distance.
I used a zoom lens set to about 70mm and oriented vertically to get some shots.
I used the tripod I got for Christmas (replacement for the one that was stolen) and a wired trigger to eliminate some blurriness.
After the show, we moved out quickly. But I took a second to get one quick shot of the pyrotechnics smoke wafting over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. The show organizers were criticized last year because some people couldn't see the fireworks from Mount Pleasant's Patriots Point. So, they moved the origin spot. Unfortunately, that made the angle such that I couldn't get any of the fireworks in the same shot as the bridge. Bummer there, but it was a stellar show regardless.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A glimpse at comet Pan-STARRS

I had looked for comet Pan-STARRS a few times last week, but I couldn't spot it until Saturday night, when I got some help from some fellow stargazers I happened upon. The above shot was taken just before it sunk out of view in Hollywood, which is just west of Charleston. When I reached this spot where I've photographed the night sky in the past, two other cars already had pulled over to gaze at the icy mass. I shot this with a 300mm lens, which leaves a lot to be desired. My old 150-500mm Sigma was great for moon shots, but thanks to thieves, of course, I no longer have it.

On Thursday, the first clear night since the comet became visible, I took some shots of the moon. It's in a crescent phase, but because of the "earthshine" phenomenon (when light reflected off Earth hits the moon), the rest was faintly visible. Kind of a pretty sight, but still a lackluster shot because of poor equipment.

Without realizing it, I actually captured Pan-STARRS on Thursday. From the foot of the Ravenel Bridge in downtown Charleston, I was taking a vertical shot with the moon toward the top of the frame and the horizon on the bottom. I went back and looked at the photos a few days later and found the comet, seen here near the lower left corner. The comet has been so faint that I had difficulty finding it - obviously.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tropical Storm Isaac-fueled deluge in downtown Charleston

Flooding is a part of life in downtown Charleston, where drainage in the low-lying area is poor. On Aug. 28, it was especially bad. We got some thunderstorm activity that was being fueled by Tropical Storm Isaac, which was far to the south. It dropped several inches on the city.
It resulted in a few feet of water in the streets, making travel by foot and car a bit hairy.
Some cars were swamped and rendered useless.
The bigger vehicles created some wave action.
Firefighters still had to respond to calls despite the circumstances.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Rain core from the Ravenel Bridge

For my run Aug. 22, I noticed a very distinct core of rain falling in a thunderstorm off to the northeast. Thought it was kind of cool.
This shot looks over the northern part of Mount Pleasant and Daniel Island.
The storm neared the Ravenel Bridge as I entered the last stretch of my run.
A gust front eventually enveloped Charleston Harbor.

Monday, February 25, 2013

With an iPhone, capturing a rainbow over the Ravenel Bridge

On Sept. 7, I embarked on my usual jog as a storm moved off to the east, giving way to sunshine and a rainbow. This image is made of five separate iPhone photos.
The north side of the rainbow was faint but still nice with a backdrop of blue sky.
The south side had some darker clouds behind it, so you could almost see the pot of gold across Charleston Harbor.

It appears to be crashing into the USS Yorktown museum ship.
I've had worse scenery on my daily runs.
One final shot at the bridge's apex before I concentrated on running.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fog under the Ravenel Bridge

During a job one evening, a strange fog enveloped Charleston's East Side, a result of a warm day and chilly night. When I returned from my run, the fog took the form of a tube paralleling the Cooper River shore.
It was neat to see the Ravenel Bridge poking from the top of the fog, as well as the docks and shoreline underneath.

Taking a jog 150 feet above a basketball game

The brightly lit object in the right corner of this photo is the USS Yorktown, which hosted the Carrier Classic college basketball games back on Nov. 9.
I ran over the Ravenel Bridge as a Goodyear blimp circled overhead and the basketball players did their thing on the surface of the old aircraft carrier.
The sun had already set, but the sky was still a bit blue.
A view in the other direction, toward the fading sunlight. The men's basketball game, by the way, was later called off because of condensation that had formed on the court - a result of a warm day and cool night.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Storm in August behind an Asian buffet in North Charleston

On Aug. 2, I engaged in a brief cloud chase through beautiful North Charleston. Ironically, the best shot of lightning was taken with my iPhone, above. There's some horizontal distortion in this image, though.
The most open area I found to shoot from was an empty lot behind an Asian buffet restaurant on Ashley Phosphate Road. Here's a shot with the DSLR.

Some dark, low-hanging scuds that briefly resembled a wall cloud.

I went on with my usual after-work activities and went for a run over the Ravenel Bridge.