Lunchtime Photo

More rain here in Southern California! And for the past couple of weeks I’ve been trying to capture a good shot of a raindrop splashing on the fence outside my window. This is harder than it sounds. First off, it turns out that even 1/1000th of a second is barely enough to freeze a splash. But a higher shutter speed, combined with a high f/stop to get some depth of field and a reasonably low ISO to keep the noise under control, only works on a bright, sunny day. But if it’s raining, then by definition it’s sort of a dim, overcast day.

Plus there’s the timing. You have to catch the raindrop at exactly the right instant, and there’s no talent or practice that will improve your timing. It’s just luck. Plus you need a good hard rain so you have nice fat raindrops.

Anyway, I put my camera on a tripod and kept trying whenever the rain got heavy. I probably took a thousand pictures or so—which sounds like a lot, but probably only took a total of 15 minutes of my time. Nonetheless, I never quite got a really great splash.

Until yesterday. It was late in the day, and a natural exposure was hopeless. So I popped up the flash and used that for fill at 1/1000th of a second. I took fewer than a dozen pictures, but by enormous good luck one of them turned out to be not only a great, sharp splash, but a double splash. Here it is. I’m putting it up right away because once it’s up, I’m not going to post another one, and that means I can pack up the tripod and end my raindrop obsession. With this photo, I think it’s over.

February 10, 2019 — Irvine, California

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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