Waxing

Crescent moon, March 24, 2015; f/6.3, 1/100, ISO 400.

Crescent moon, March 24, 2015; f/6.3, 1/100, ISO 400.

Shot this tonight while leaving school. No tripod, lens extended to 250mm.

It was 0°F this morning, but it got up to probably 35 or so by afternoon. So it’s getting warmer. A little.

Reunion

Crescent moon and Venus, March 22, 2015.

Crescent moon and Venus, March 22, 2015.

It’s easy to think that when it comes to astrophotography, I’m as cursed as a Egyptian tomb robber walking under a ladder. Crappy weather is constantly spoiling my shots, with perfectly clear skies clouding over in the time it takes me to get the tripod.

(Rational explanation: I have traded one crappy weather capital for another.)

Anyway, it happened tonight, again. I spotted this little pairing—the second in as many months, scroll down—at the store. By the time I got home five minutes later, the wind was really going and this thin cloud layer was smearing the scene pretty good. I still tried. This shot is the “best” of the batch.

I need a telescope. Then, my photos will be blurry and magnified.

Little Berlin

Residential neighborhood with apartment buildings, Berlin, NH.

Residential neighborhood with apartment buildings, Berlin, NH.

More tilt shift fake miniature photography, this one of the nearby town city (sorry, Berlin) of Berlin. I’d hoped to do an entire series of these for the April part of my “show” at White Mountain Cafe. It won’t happen, because I just can’t get enough of these to work. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t look as good on paper as it does here on the screen. Also, I miss “real” photography and I have enough learning ahead of me without a gimmick distracting me.

So with that project D.O.A., here are a couple of the photos that did kinda work, which made the life size buildings sorta look like they’re miniature.

Berlin, again:

Residential neighborhood with apartment buildings, Berlin, NH.

Residential neighborhood with apartment buildings, Berlin, NH.

Residential neighborhood with apartment buildings, Berlin, NH.

Berlin, NH.

Closer to home with our local baseball diamond:

Our local baseball diamond.

Baseball diamond at Libby Park, Gorham, NH.

Here’s another shot from the same park:

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Park building, Gorham, NH.

I like this one from a pull-out on Highway 16 south of town that I shot in October:

FALL RIVER

Peabody River, Highway 16, Gorham, NH.

The entrance to the Mount Washington Auto Road further down the highway:

Entrance to the Mt. Washington Auto Road, Pinkham Notch, NH.

Entrance to the Mt. Washington Auto Road, Pinkham Notch, NH.

The Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, site of a famous conference in the 1940s that gave us the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and a couple dozen stupid conspiracy theories:

Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH.

Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, NH.

I’ll close with my best, using a photo that I took in 2011 back in Portland. This is from the Tram that crosses Interstate 5 and climbs the hill to Oregon Health Sciences University:

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Southwest Portland, Ore., from Tram.

I might get back to this fake mini stuff later. Until then, a return to “real” photography. I don’t think I’ve had a decent shot worth framing since Christmas.

Starting Lineup

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My photos are up on the wall at White Mountain Cafe & Bookstore until May 1. What a nice little surprise this whole thing turned out to be.

Rose City Tilt

West Burnside Street and Burnside Bridge, taken from City Grill restaurant, U.S. Bancorp Tower, Portland, Ore. (Photo from 2013.)

West Burnside Street and Burnside Bridge, taken from City Grill restaurant, U.S. Bancorp Tower, Portland, Ore. (Photo from 2013.)

I’ve been playing around with tilt-shift photography fake miniaturization. (Edit: Turns out tilting and shifting are different things, and produce more wonderfully subtle effects than my lousy skills and laptop can do.)

Still working on this technique. The results have been fun, but they’re not perfect.

RED DUSK debuts!

BUSSA_coveMy new novel BATTLEGROUND U.S.S.A.: RED DUSK is out on Kindle. Just $2.99, or free if you’re signed up for Kindle Unlimited!

And that $2.99 in dollars and cents, not rubles. Because the Communists may have invaded the homeland, but they haven’t won the war.

At least… nyet yet…

You loved the hardboiled short stories of Blood & Tacos, the online quarterly started by legendary writer Brace Godfrey. Now sink your chops into the first full length B&T novel. Join Mike McCreary and the rest of Lonestar Tactical Unit One as they fight to stop the Russians from taking over the United States—and the world. With the American military making its last stand in the Rockies, McCreary and his team race to Alaska to stop the Reds from pouring across the Bering Strait and delivering a final, killing, Godless blow to the cause of freedom.

Enjoy this leap back to a time when a man was a man, Reagan was king, and the U.S.S.R. invaded the … United States … somehow.

That’s BATTLEGROUND U.S.S.A.: RED DUSKon Kindle and coming soon to paperback from Creative Guy Publishing.

‘BATTLEGROUND U.S.S.A.: RED DUSK’

Creative Guy Publishing (Vancouver, B.C.) and Blood & Tacos present

BATTLEGROUND U.S.S.A.: RED DUSK

BY MAX AUGER

Discovered by Christopher Blair

Coming Feb. 3!

SOVIET THUNDER ON THE
ALASKAN TUNDRA

World War III has come at last. Two years into the ground fight, the U.S. military continues to mount a valiant resistance against the Soviet invasion of North America. And Captain Mike McCreary has freed his hometown from a deranged Communist general.

But at what price? The Soviets have reprogrammed his wife as the perfect Russian consort. McCreary has a million-ruble bounty on his head. And worst of all, a tidal wave of Red Army groups is preparing for a surge through Soviet Alaska.

Striking out from under one of the last U.S. divisions, McCreary and the rest of Lonestar Tactical Unit One set their bearings straight for the Great White North. There they seek to expose the Soviets’ secrets and put a stop to their Communist plot.

If they fail, Alaska will become the doorway for a new United Soviet States of America, and the snow of the Arctic hellscape will be stained red with the patriotic blood of true Americans.

One man’s mission: to keep the sun from setting on the West, and to prevent the rise of a RED DUSK.

• • •

“I might be eight whiskeys in, but I can aver without hyperbole that Max Auger’s Red Dusk is the best novel that I have ever read. Besides any one of my own.”—Brace Godfrey, author of Oaxacalypse and Knockers O’Malley: Lady Cop.

• • •

Battleground U.S.S.A. Red Dusk is the book-length sequel to “Battleground U.S.S.A.: Texasgrad,” a story that appeared in the satirical quarterly Blood & Tacos No. 1 in 2012.

The original “Texasgrad” is available as a free audiobook HERE on iTunes.

“Texasgrad” and the rest of Blood & Tacos No. 1 is HERE, just 99 cents on Kindle.

BATTLEGROUND U.S.S.A.: RED DUSK
Coming to paperback and Kindle Feb. 3!

 

Winter

wintertree

Tree and frozen brook, Gorham, NH.

I’m posting this photo from today at 4 a.m. because I can’t sleep. The wind is shaking the house. The temperature outside is now -18° F, one degree colder than the South Pole. I have to be up in two and a half hours, at which the temperature will be -24° F.

Glace

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Full moon over frozen yard, Gorham, NH; Jupiter visible through branches, far left; Sirius at upper right.

We own a double lot, and the one on the right is mostly empty. After an unusually warm Christmas vacation (temperatures ranging from the upper 40s down to the 20s or so), winter has slithered in, cold and nasty.

We’ve had snow, then rain, then freezing rain. It may get down to -21°F Thursday night; whatever the windchill will be, I want to miss it, inside, asleep. Last night, I noticed that the light from the houses and the full moon was glimmering beautifully off the ice in the side yard.

I possess zero common sense, so I decided to leave my perfectly cozy, weatherproofed house and take a bunch of digital photographs, most or all of which I’d probably end up deleting. I knew I didn’t want my footsteps to foul the scene. I walked around out of frame, punching through the ice and sinking down into the snow as I lugged my camera and my tripod. My feet quickly went numb, then my hands, gloves be damned.

As I hunted for a decent spot to frame a photo, I had my fur-lined parka up, feeling like Kurt Russell in The Thing. Air temperature: 5°F. The wind was howling and pushing me around like I was a kite. I had to stand over my camera’s tripod to keep it from getting knocked over. The 20 second exposures felt like they took 20 years, the camera’s little progress light blinking and reflecting off the ice at my feet.

Meanwhile, the wind screamed through that bare tree in the distance and sent little shards from my footsteps skittering away from me across the ice. I love this place, but at times like that, I don’t know if humans are supposed to live here.

I Built a Sweet Model Airplane and I Want to Beat My Friends

My model of a B-58 Hustler medium bomber, which is part of a five-way model building competition with me and my dork friends (plus my non dorky son). The B-58 was a Mach 2 nuclear delivery vehicle—and also a sweet model built by me, Chris Blair.

My model of a B-58 Hustler medium bomber, which is part of a five-way model building competition with me and my dork friends (plus my non dorky son). The B-58 was a Mach 2 nuclear delivery vehicle—and also a sweet model built by me, Chris Blair.

So my friends and I started a model building contest. I won’t deny that we occasionally are complete spazzes. And yet, we are upstanding men who have careers and aspirations. We do not live in anyone’s basement, we are respected by family and friends, and, unlike many adult men who assemble model kits, we have known a woman’s tender caress.

But none of that is important! What’s important is that my friends challenged me to a contest and I couldn’t back down. So if you see this before 3 a.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 6 (midnight Monday for the other competitors on the West Coast), please click HERE and take a look at the site, look at the slideshows, and cast your ANONYMOUS vote. (It only lets you vote once.)

I’m not asking for you to vote for me, specifically. That would be unethical. If my model of the B-58 ‘Hustler’ is to win, it must happen on the skill of my build alone. I can’t ask you to vote for me just because you’re a loyal visitor to my page.

See, none of my friends has a blog. That would be unfair. They just… run entire newspapers and have bigger extended families and more Facebook friends than I do. But again, not important. HOWEVER, if you happen to be a long lost friend or former student who’s been Google-stalking me, feel free to remember all the good times we had. You know, in case you can’t figure out who to pick.

UPDATE: I lost.

(Not an) Airstream

Trailer parked on Cedar Pond, Milan, NH.

Trailer parked on Cedar Pond, Milan, NH.

We’ve had a freakish thaw here on Christmas Day: 48° F. We found this trailer parked on ice, and hope no one’s in it sleeping off some holiday cheer. Ice is melting all over the place.

Rosemary Anderson High School

Portland’s Rosemary Anderson High School, which suffered a school shooting today, is in my former school’s alternative education network—on the same street, in fact. I worked many times with their staff. The highlight was working a full day there as part of our Instructional Rounds program. I was impressed with not only the caring, competent, energetic staff, but the way they formed positive relationships with their students, most of whom come from challenging circumstances. And by the way: I remember the kids that day as being great.

I know next to nothing about what happened today. But I would like to point out that it’s rather remarkable this happened at Rosemary Anderson at all. It’s not schools with “gang affiliated” students where the shootings are happening. Go check the list of multi-fatality school shootings. They happen in more affluent areas—Columbine, Thurston, Newtown. That’s what makes this shooting so puzzling to me.

And while we’re on the topic, why is it that white, suburban schools experience big shootings comparatively often, and in inner city schools it’s so rare? I’d like to think it’s a fundamental decency among urban poor people—tight knit and family oriented, despite the challenges we put on them. But your guess is as good as mine.

Either way, I’m sick of the goddamned guns.