The Space Weather forecast called for a slight chance of aurora and the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower, so I packed up my camera gear and went out west of town. I let the camera snap away for about half an hour before I decided I was tired and came home. I mean, it was a school night, after all.
I got one very faint meteor and no aurora to speak of, but that’s OK, I got some star trails out of it, too. And a truck passed by me on the gravel road, illuminating the field for me, so there’s that too.
Nerdy details: 113 images, 15 seconds each, 11mm, f/2.8, ISO1600, stacked in GIMP (no dark frames).
It was clear and reasonably warm last night, and there was a reasonable chance of getting some aurora Borealis, so I headed to my usual spot about fifteen minutes out of town. I got my tripod set up, and retired to the warmth of the car—the temperature was only ‑10°C or so, but the windchill was significant, a south wind howling along at what felt like about 40–50 km/h—and listened to music for a while.
After about ten or fifteen minutes, I noticed that I couldn’t see the little red light on my camera anymore. I briefly wondered if maybe the battery had died, but then I realized that I also couldn’t see the thin dark lines of the tripod.
Sure enough, the wind had tipped it over into the snow. See the photo below, which is the ten-second window when it actually fell.
I cleaned the lens off as best I could, then packed it all up and headed home, where I gave the lens a more thorough cleaning and then set it aside to dry. This morning it looks OK, so I think I got away lucky.
I went out last night, since it was clear, and visited my friend Tim, who’s camping this weekend at Wasagaming. I snapped some star trails at his campsite (my battery, almost dead, managed 80 shots at 10 seconds each).
On the way home, I pulled off the highway about ½ a mile down a gravel road, and tried out a panoramic photo of the Milky Way. I set my camera up in portrait mode and shot 5 photos, 45 seconds each, tilting the camera up after each shot. The camera started out aimed at the horizon and the last shot was pointed straight up at the zenith.
I stitched the photos together using Hugin, which did a very good job of automatically orienting the photos and finding the matches. I didn’t have to massage anything manually.
debated changing the title from Translations to Reflection, Translation, Invasion (which is a not-completely-inaccurate summary of the story, at a very high level);
turned on the air conditioning, because it was getting pretty hot;
borrowed the neighbours’ kayak and paddled on the lake for a half-hour or so right at sunset;
went and got some more photos of the Milky Way and (serendipitously) the Aurora Borealis.
“Can I help you with something?” Headless mannequins wore flimsy cotton dresses in earth tones. Countertop racks displayed neacklaces and bracelets made of beads, pearls, or smooth and polished stones. A sign at the back said RESTROOMSFORPAYINGCUSTOMERSONLY.
“I need a washroom,” I said.
She motioned at the sign.
“No, I need a washroom.”
She sighed, though I couldn’t tell whether she was exasperated with me or with the situation I was evidently trying to put her in. “Policy,” she said. Then, giving me a good looking-over, she said, much more quietly, “You okay?”
Last night was clear, at least until I got to my shooting spot, about 15 minutes south of town. Even with the clouds sliding across the sky, I still managed to get a few decent shots of the galaxy.