Tag Archives: rain

Lying Weather App

Looks like clear sailing ahead!

Looks like clear sailing ahead!

One of the first things I do when I wake up is check my iPhone 5S’ weather app, especially on long run days like yesterday. I need to know the temperature and the rain chances, so I can dress appropriately (or, occasionally, convince me to go back to bed).

As you can see from the above screenshot, it looked like gorgeous conditions for my scheduled 10-miler. Finally! It’s been so hot and humid that we’ve wondered if fall would ever arrive. I was stoked!

Oh oh!!

Oh oh!!

As I jogged through my first mile, I could see bright skies to my right. However, to my left, coming from the north, were those distinctive dark clouds that signified one thing: Rain.

Could the weather app have been misinformed?

Yep . . . and so was I.

Who’ll stop the rain?

Who’ll stop the rain?

Drizzle began during mile two. The Mister texted me, asking if I wanted him to pick me up. Easy answer: No, thanks. I needed to finish what I started.

Note the demarcation line.

Note the demarcation line.

I continued to hope the precipitation would stay light, because the conditions were awesome. Crisp temps with occasional wind gusts and a cool rain—what’s not to like?

Well, a cold downpour isn’t on my list of favorites. But that’s what greeted me starting at mile three and continuing until I returned to our house soaked and drippy, thankfully with 10 miles under my fuel belt.

It’s always a good feeling when you set a goal and attain it no matter what the conditions. In fact, persevering makes you stronger, helps you believe that you will be ready on January 19, the date of Houston’s marathon/half marathon event.

And you never know when that experience can come in handy, as it did for this year’s wet and cold Aramco Houston Half Marathon. It’s all a great learning experience.

Want to know the knowledge I gained yesterday? Not to trust the iPhone’s weather app!

A Wet and Not-So-Wild Weekend

Avoiding eye contact with people, aliens, and cameras

Can you tell that the kid isn’t a morning person?

The best-laid plans of mice, men (dads), and moms too often can get waylaid by the weather. That’s what the Mister and I experienced as we tried to enjoy our first Sam Houston State Family Weekend with our younger son last Saturday.

Come along for the ride as I recap most of our unusual day.

The museum is minutes from our son’s dorm.

The museum is minutes from our son’s dorm.

One of the highlights of our visit was checking out the Sam Houston Memorial Museum and grounds (the Mister and I are history buffs). 

The kid tries his hand at tomahawk tossing.

The kid tries his hand at tomahawk tossing.

Before we entered the building, our son got to test his skill with a tomahawk. Good athlete that he is, he hit the target twice and probably would’ve sliced off at least a toe with his third effort.

Sam lived a colorful life.

Sam lived a full and interesting life.

After the kid’s weapon wizardry, we went into the museum to learn more about his university’s namesake. All three rooms were packed with photos, paintings, artifacts, and information; it was fascinating!

Santa Anna . . . or Elvis? The kid wasn’t quite sure.

Santa Anna . . . or Elvis? The kid wasn’t quite sure.

What most intrigued our son, though, was a talking diorama of the injured General Sam Houston interrogating Mexican meanie Santa Anna after his defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.

Note the sword behind Sam

Check out the sword behind Sam.

More specifically, it was the sword behind Sudden Sam that sparked the kid’s interest. Oh, how he wanted to touch it! I told him to fight that urge, as I turned away. Next thing I heard was a loud, female, somewhat robotic voice saying, “Get out of the diorama!”

Yep, the kid had touched the sword, which set off a sensor. Embarrassing yet so funny that I’m sure we’ll be reliving that moment again and again and again. Hey, son, get out of the diorama!

Bowers Stadium

Bowers Stadium (note the ominous clouds)

After we ate a catered lunch and dropped the kid back at his dorm (supposedly to study), the Mister and I walked to Bowers Stadium to watch SHSU hopefully defeat rival Eastern Washington (they were nationally ranked #4 and #3, respectively, in the Football Conference Subdivision).

Along the way, it was drizzling a bit. Unbelievably (for me), I actually had not only found two ponchos (just in case) but also remembered to bring them with us! Really, folks, that’s pretty miraculous when you’re suffering from CRS (Can’t Remember Stuff) disease.

Again, note the clouds.

Again, note the clouds.

Once we got to our seats, that drizzle turned heavier. On went the ponchos just in time, as the dark skies opened up with torrential rain, thunder, and scary lightning. Naturally, we left our metal seats and looked for an overhang. All of them were packed with soaked people.

When the announcer said the game would be delayed for at least an hour, the Mister and I decided to bag it and spend time with our beloved baby boy at his dorm. Eventually, the storm moved out, and SHSU came away with a victory, by the way.

A crowded desk

A crowded desk

Although we would’ve loved watching the game, we enjoyed being with the kid more. He insisted we watch the first season of “Seinfeld” (he’s become addicted).

Father and son get the comfy digs.

Father and son get the comfy digs.

It was just like old times with our son . . . except for the cramped quarters and soggy shoes and socks. While the Mister napped, the kid and I had fun tossing around his Tigger ball. Later we threw a little football and mini discs. Just like home, except that the mess stayed while I left. I liked that part a lot!

After we had eaten dinner, made a Walmart stop, and enjoyed some great SHSU volleyball, it was time to bid adieu to our bearded boy and drive the 90 minutes back home. As I hugged him tightly, I was glad we got the chance to see how comfortable he is in his new environs, as well as enjoy some of what makes the campus unique (thanks to General Sam).

Next time we get the chance to see the Bearkats’ football team in action, at least it will be indoors against Stephen F. Austin State, the Battle of the Piney Woods, at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

No ponchos necessary!

Rainy Day Players and Photographers

My younger son lasers in his birdie putt amid the raindrops.

My younger son lasers in his birdie putt amid the raindrops.

According to the Southwest Handicap Mini’s fearless leader, Eric, it should never rain on Tuesdays during the 18-hole disc golf tournaments. So we were all surprised when Mother Nature had the audacity to defy Eric and briefly dump some drops on our heads during this week’s contest at Community Park in Missouri City.

Mike keeps the basket in his sights.

Mike keeps the basket in his sights.

As much as I don’t like getting my photographic equipment wet, I went with the flow (literally) and just kept on shooting while hoping for the best. When I looked at my pics in Photoshop later, I loved how my fast shutter speed had captured not only the action but also the rain.

Glen hams it up with his no-look putt.

Glen hams it up with his no-look putt.

Talk about your spray and pray!

Withering Wildflowers

This doesn’t look pretty at all.

With the Houston area in a severe drought, all the pretty wildflowers have just about disappeared. In fact, in the master-planned community next to mine, they’ve started mowing them away.

A gaggle of black-eyed Susans

Only a few wildflowers have been thriving. One is the black-eyed Susan (no relation except when my younger son accidentally hit me below the eye with the edge of a cabinet door when he was a toddler; I looked like I had been in a fight).

Soaking up the sun

These wildflowers seem to enjoy the adverse conditions. I like them, despite their name, because of their cheerful yellow color.

Morning glories trumpet their purple beauty.

The only other wildflower competing with the black-eyed Susans are lovely purple morning glories. Those purple and yellow colors will have to do until we get more rain.

Anyone want to join me in a rain dance?

One-Word Wednesday

Raindrops trickle from our gutter yesterday; it only rained a couple minutes, though.

Rain!

After 148 days without substantial rainfall, Houston finally is getting a soaking today!

Rain drips from the roof.

Wind-Swept Roses

Darn the wind and the rain!

At about 6:20 this morning, our power cycled off and then quickly came back on. I looked out the window and stared at the trees being whipped by the wind gusts and drenched by the sudden, short-lived downpour.

Today’s winter storm had announced itself to the Houston area in a noisy fashion.

Our rose bushes have lost most of their pink and red color.

After awhile I took the garbage to the curb and walked back to the house. I abruptly stopped, my eyes drawn to our formerly glorious Knock Out rose bushes. The majority of our blooming roses had met their untimely weather-related demise and now were mere petals among the mulch.

It was sad to think that all their beauty would be blown away due to the 24-mph wind we’re now dealing with, amid temperatures that have dropped from 69 degrees at 6 a.m. to a chilly 36 before noon. The expected low is a very unwelcome 22 degrees.

The wind is too fast for my shutter speed!

Another wind-related casualty? My ability to keep the few roses still hanging on in focus as I snapped photos in gusts that took my breath away! Stay warm and safe, my friends!

My Very Own Sorcerer’s Apprentices

My #2 son thinks discs are handy for everything—even bailing water from our patio!

My #2 son should’ve seen “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” with us Sunday.

#2 tries to sweep the water away. (1/320 at f/1.6)

If he had, he might have been tempted to work some magic when the Mister asked him to help get the water off our flooded patio after a heavy downpour later that afternoon.

The broom and water make for fascinating photography. (1/400 at f/1.6)

Unfortunately, #2 had to use his own muscle power to push the accumulated water away.

The broom flies through the water like magic! (1/50 at f/4.5)

While #2 reluctantly worked his own magic, I felt like a sorcerer in my own right.

The broom moves so fast! (1/20 at f/7.1)

Thanks to my own photographic apprentices, better known as the Nikon D700 and Nikon 50mm lens, I was able to speed up the action using a slow shutter and make it seem like #2 was making fast work of his chore.

#2 continues to wield the broom. (1/100 at f/2.8)

All the time I was snapping merrily away, that well-known “dum-de-dum-de-dum-dum-dum dum-de-dum-de-dum-dum-dum” music from “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” part of “Fantasia” pounded in my head. In fact, I was shooting to the rhythm of that melody!

Working with my apprentices, I was thoroughly enjoying myself. My #2 son who had to do all the labor by himself? Not so much!

A Big Storm (But Maybe Not Perfect)

The Houston-area radar at 11 a.m.

The Houston-area radar at 11 a.m.

The local meteorologists were right, for a change! They predicted that a cold front, complete with thunderstorms and plentiful rain, would plow through the Houston area before noon today.

Rain pings off our our garage roof, captured at 1/40th of a second.

Rain pings off our our garage roof, captured at 1/40th of a second.

At around 10:15 a.m., the wind suddenly picked up. Before long, the temperature began to drop slooowly, and the rain started to fall.

Our area looks colorful!

Our area looks colorful!

Judging from the radar, we’re in for a long afternoon. This is a mammoth front. Soup even sounds good for lunch!

The bubbles in our driveway.

The bubbles in our driveway.

Well, maybe the soup would sound better if the temperature was dropping into the 50s. Which it’s supposed to do tonight; a low of 57 is forecasted.

Lots of rain is on the way for lots of people

Lots of rain is on the way for lots of people

Looks like this storm is going to impact a lot of people today.

The ixoras drink up the rain.

The ixoras drink up the rain.

The rain helps accentuate how green it still is here in south Texas. Our new front yard landscaping appreciates all the water it can get.

Sidebar: Did we put in the new landscaping just so I could get more photos for this blog from it? Sure seems that way!

It continues to pour as I type.

It continues to pour as I type.

What’s really on my mind right now as I listen to the thunder overhead and watch the rain splash down is this: Will the #2 son’s cross-country meet take place? The junior varsity girls are scheduled to start the action at 4:30 p.m., with #2 and his fellow freshmen competing with the JV boys right after.

This is one, big, old storm!

This is one big, old storm!

If the radar knows, it ain’t telling!

Raining It In

Pointillistic rain (f/2.8, 1/500th, ISO 200)

Pointillistic rain (f/2.8, 1/500th, ISO 200)

Unlike the last time I wrote about rain in the Houston area, we’ve been getting precipitation more days than not. Of course, when it rains here, it pours so hard that you think you’ll see an ark being readied down the street, and the animals lining up two by two. For five or so minutes. Then the rain stops abruptly, and the humidity immediately rises to 125 percent. That’s Houston.

Last week when we had those five-minute deluges almost every day, I grabbed my Nikon D300, slapped on its steady companion, the Nikon 105mm lens, and took photos from the dryness of the back and front porches. Again, I experimented with my shutter speeds to see what kinds of different effects I could conjure up. Yes, photography can be magic!

Take the top photo. With a wide-open aperture letting in a lot of light and a fast shutter speed of 1/500th of a second, it looks like a pointillistic painting!

Sidebar: Almost everything I know about art I learned when I helped teach Art a la Carte to my sons and their fellow students from kindergarten through second grade. The wonderful program was started at our elementary school by one of the smartest moms I know, Kari Smith, when the #1 son and her #1 daughter were in second grade. It made going to the art museum so much more interesting!

Slowing the shutter. f/16, 1/15th, ISO 200

Slowing the shutter (f/16, 1/15th, ISO 200)

I always wished I could draw; however, that kind of artistic ability eluded me. So it’s satisfying for me when I can paint with my photography.

Water upon water in our pool

Water upon water in our pool

I didn’t take many photos from the back patio, but a few did intrigue me.

Stopping the drips (f/2.8, 1/1000th, ISO 200)

Stopping the drips (f/2.8, 1/1000th, ISO 200)

A fast shutter speed means you can see just about every drop of rain.

The raindrops blend together. (f/14, 1/50th, ISO 200)

The raindrops blend together. (f/14, 1/50th, ISO 200)

Slow that shutter speed down, and the rain makes a pretty picture.

The rain makes the trees look gloomy. (f/2.8, 1/320th, ISO 200)

The rain makes the trees look gloomy. (f/2.8, 1/320th, ISO 200)

Back on the front porch, I liked how focusing on the rain made the blurred trees in the background look so gloomy. You’d never guess that it was in the afternoon when this photo was snapped.

Rain drips from the gutter. (f/3, 1/500th, ISO 200)

Rain drips from the gutter. (f/3, 1/500th, ISO 200)

Trying to zoom in on one stream of rain meant switching to manual focus. I like how those singular drops of rain stand out amidst the blur of the rest of the precipitation.

Drip drop, drip drop (f/3, 1/500th, ISO 200)

Drip drop, drip drop (f/3, 1/500th, ISO 200)

Stopping the rain in mid-air? Now that’s magic!

Photo Friday: Play in the Rain

Long-awaited rain bubbles in the spa.

Long-awaited rain bubbles in the spa.

I looked out the back door yesterday and pondered an unfamiliar noise I had heard. But, then again, perhaps the sound was just one I hadn’t heard for a long, long time. Sure enough, I was right—it was rain!

We hadn’t had precipitation in the Houston area in 31 long, hot days. It seemed like it would never rain again. But then there were the unmistakable sounds of pounding on the roof. When I looked out the back door into the pool, there was the physical evidence: Rain bubbles, glorious rain bubbles!

So, of course, I grabbed my Nikon D300, slapped on the Nikon 105mm macro lens, and set out to play in the rain photographically.

Raindrops gather on a pool tube.

Raindrops gather on a pool tube.

I didn’t want just the usual bubbles-in-the-pool photos, even though I snapped several of them. Instead, I wanted to look at the rain at different angles and at different shutter speeds to see what the effect would be. All while staying as dry as possible, of course.

Rain at a slower shutter speed

Rain at a slower shutter speed

First, I shot at a slower shutter speed (f/5.6, 1/30th of a second, ISO 320).

Rain at a faster shutter speed

Rain at a faster shutter speed

Then I stood in the same spot, changed my settings, and took the same photo but at a faster shutter speed (f/2.8, 1/100th of a second, ISO 320). Looks almost surreal!

Rain again at a slower shutter speed

Rain again at a slower shutter speed

I looked to my left and saw another intriguing possibility to test how fast vs. slow shutter speeds affect the outcome of a photo (f/2.8, 1/50th of a second, ISO 200).

Rain again at a faster shutter speed

Rain again at a faster shutter speed

Still drippy at a faster shutter speed (f/2.8, 1/80th of a second, ISO 400). It’s essential to manually focus your lens for these kinds of shots, by the way; otherwise, it’s hard to keep the rain in focus as opposed to the background. The 105mm also has VR (Vibration Reduction), which allows me to handhold at slower shutter speeds without blurring. I don’t use VR a lot (never for sports because it slows down the focusing), but it comes in handy when needed.

Spouting off

Rain drips from our neighbor's downspout.

Rain drips from our neighbor's downspout.

Staying safely dry while snapping pix started getting boring for me. So I put plastic protection on my camera (kind of like a raincoat cut to its size) and headed out to look for interesting rain photos. First, I saw the downspout on my neighbor JJ the organizational whiz’s house. Then I walked to our backyard garden.

Wet tomato

Wet tomato

The tomatoes were dripping, as they greedily soaked up the welcome rain.

More wet tomatoes

More wet tomatoes

But I was looking for something more interesting than just wet tomatoes. I wanted to photograph some drips in action. I finally found one that I liked, as I started to get soaked. But it was well worth the wet clothes to get one of nature’s beautiful moments off a tomato leaf.

Water drop

Water drop

If you get the chance to take photos in the rain, experiment! Change your settings around and see what beautiful moments you can capture. It’s a great opportunity to see the relationship between aperture (letting in light) and shutter speed in action. Change your ISO to allow for a faster shutter speed and manually focus if you need to make sure your camera won’t be confused about what you’re focusing on. Try to keep your camera as dry as possible; if it gets wet, wipe it off quickly. And use the lens hood so you don’t get water on your lens.

Go play in the rain photographically!