Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

March 1, 2008


I was browsing thru a couple of photos albums from the fall of 1986 through the fall of 1987. That was a great year for me. I was finally living out on my own, I had a ton of friends my age who all worked together at Channel 58 in Hyannis. After I got laid off from 58 and before I got the job at Channel 56 in Boston in the summer, I drew unemployment and worked part time for about a month at Cape Channel 11, so I was always running into my Cha. 58 compatriots. So, it's no surprise that many of the photos in that album seem to be from various and sundry parties.

There's also my trip to visit Michelle in Maine from March, 1987, my first solo trip to San Francisco in April, 1987, a trip to visit my bud Charlene in Philadelphia, my trip to Maryland to visit Diane, the time my friend Howard and I went four wheeling out on Sandy Neck Beach and the Town of Sandwich's 350th Anniversary Parade from August, 1987.

Buried between all these parties and events are a few special effects pictures I shot that spring & summer. It was a good year, photographically speaking.

While visiting Michelle, we watched "Nova" and was a program about how you can use a strobe light to photographically capture things that move too fast for the naked eye, such as the crown that is made when a drop of liquid hits a hard surface, or what a bullet looks like bursting through an apple. Michelle looks at me and goes, "I have a strobe light" and I said, "let's set it up!" I kept my shutter open while Michelle blew bubbles in front of the strobe.
We couldn't quite recreate the crown from liquid, so instead we tried dripping water into a glass in front of the strobe and it worked!

Next, Michelle stood in front of the strobe light and waved her arms up and down. Grooooovy, no?
I used part of my tax refund that spring to buy a kaleidoscope that I desperately wanted. I remember it was like $60, and for a 22 year old on a very, very tight budget, that was a lot of money. I discovered that I could get a clear & focused picture of the patterns by using my wide angle lens. So I aimed the kaleidoscope at a very bright light and held it up to my camera lens and shot. I still have this kaleidscope; it's on my bookcase in Kraft Korner downstairs, and it's just as beautiful today as it was 21 years ago when I bought it.

These next two pictures were taken in the median strip of the Cape Cod Highway in July, 1987. Me, Diane and my mom spontaneously decided to drive up to the Exit 3 rest area that backs up to Sandwich High School's property, so that we could see a fireworks display that night. Sadly, the fireworks weren't shot high enough above the trees. But we got some cool pictures of headlights and tail lights as cars passed. I set my shutter to the "bulb" setting and aimed at the oncoming cars. As they passed me, I'd pan with them to get the streak effect of their lights.
These next 2 are of fireworks on July 5, 1987 at Kalmus Beach in Hyannis. I'll never forget these fireworks. The very first one misfired and set the beach grass in the dunes on fire and everyone had to wait for them to put out the fire. When the show started again, I was laying on my back on the sand, looking straight up. My friend Howard was w/ me and we were ooo'ing and ahhh'ing w/ everyone else. Then all of a sudden, we are being pelted with hot debris. It's smacking onto the sand all around us and sizzling. I remember shielding my eyes but my arms were getting burned. Us, and all the other people who realized that they too were directly under the blast zone, all jumped up, and fled en masse, dragging our blankets and coolers to safer ground. I just remember giggling hysterically at the situation as we ran pell mell to get out from under the red hot embers.

My parents' property is one of the few places left that isn't touched too badly by light pollution. Yet. There are no street lights on that part of Old County Road. When I grew up there, my folks owned 2 acres (which subsequently were divided & one lot sold off a few years ago), and their property borders on about 30-40 acres of woods that lead to the edges of the salt marshes.

Therefore, their backyard is the ideal place to set up a camera & tripod and aim at the heavens. My old Pentax K-1000 camera's shutter button has a place to screw in a remote shutter cable that you can use to keep the shutter open w/o having to shake the camera by actually pressing the button. My one complaint about modern cameras, film and digital, is that they don't accomodate remote shutter cables any more.

So I set up the camera, aimed it at the sky and left the shutter open for varying amounts of time. This first picture was probably about a half hour's worth time. Maybe less. See that one pinpoint in the upper/right center? That's the North Star. I was trying to show it stationary while the other stars swept around it. Or rather, while the earth spun underneath.
I left the shutter open much longer for this star sweep. I'm almost certain I was aiming at the Big Dipper for this shot but I can't tell for sure.


  1. Fantastic pictures. You haven't taken the best one yet, though. You know - the one of Vincent...

  2. did you see your man vincent on the snl news last night?

  3. Annie - Yes I did, thanks to the gals at The Valentine Cat blog!

  4. Incredible photos Jojo! Amazing!

  5. Anonymous2:03 PM

    I feel a little dizzy after viewing these. Lizzzard

  6. Anonymous2:26 PM

    I love your photos!

  7. As always, you manage to turn the most basic things into ART, Jojo!
    These are so beautiful...and what makes it better, is that at the time they were shot, you were in a happy time of your life too. That makes it extra special.

  8. that's so cool! all of it! you're amazing w/ a camera joj;0)