I had the telescope out last night to take a couple of shots of our nearly full moon. I’m slowly getting better – there’s a bunch of factors that make astrophotography really challenging. One, you have to wait for perfect weather. Two, even the tiniest vibration in your setup (wind, footsteps, camera shutter) will cause blur in your picture. Three, the moon is moving! Fast! When you’re looking at a tiny slice of the sky you really get a sense of how everything is whirling around through space. The moon is pretty bright so it’s not a huge factor, but without a star-tracker robot to keep locked on celestial bodies, you need to keep shutter speeds pretty fast to prevent motion blur. (but you want long shutter speeds to collect a lot of light, soooo)
Anyhow – I’m failing better and better. 🙂 Here’s a shot from last night. Lots of dust on my sensor and inside the telescope – I’ll have to blow it clean soon with some compressed air.
The summer’s been full of big blockbuster movies that I’ve been excited about, so here’s a couple of quick reviews of stuff I’ve seen lately:
Man of Steel – Mostly Good – I was conflicted about going to this movie because I didn’t think Superman needed a dark angsty reboot, and since the movie I’ve read a lot of really valid criticism of the film, but I still had a lot of fun watching Zod and Kal-El wrastlin’ around Metropolis levelling everything as they went. I dunno – go for the spectacle of a fun popcorn film, but if you’re a big Superman fan, leave your heart at the door, because this version of him is technically kindof a monster, when you think about it.
The Bling Ring – Neat but Slow – I’m a Sophia Coppola fan, and I dig caper movies, so Natasha and I went opening night and had the theatre entirely to ourselves. It’s the true-life story of a bunch of bored LA teenagers who break into a series of celebrity homes and ransack the places for glamourous outfits. A large part of the movie felt unscripted, Coppola’s long lingering shots of teenagers going through closets and snatching handbags were eerie and chaotic. As far as capers go – the kids brag about their exploits with everyone in earshot, so it’s hardly a whodunnit for the police. This is mostly an analysis of the lives of materialistic, drug-addled teens making terrible choices. More of a renter than a theatre movie.
Moon – Weird and Fun – In this 2009 flick, Sam Rockwell plays Sam the isolated moon miner, who’s looking forward to going home to his wife and kids on earth. That is – until he crashes his moon rover and upon returning, realizes he’s been prematurely replaced by his clone. It’s a fun film made better for the incredible acting and camerawork required to shoot Rockwell opposite himself throughout most of the film. The effects work was really cool – I suspect they used physical models out on the lunar surface, because the shots were gorgeous and the lighting was amazing.
The King of Kong – Super Crazy – This documentary film about trying to set a Donkey Kong high score was way more intense than it ought to have been. Steve Wiebe obsesses over the game after getting laid off from his engineering job, and finally beats Billy Mitchell’s record, only to have his entry disqualified by what can only be described as video game henchmen. So he sets out to prove his mettle against Mitchell in a live tournament for the Guinness book of records. The drama over something hardly anyone cares about is incredible, this one is a must-watch. You couldn’t have intentionally written weirder, better characters. Two thumbs up.