Last night

The Milky Way

Tak­en on a side road just off High­way #10, about 15 min­utes south of my house, at about 1:30 AM.

14 pho­tos, each 25 sec­onds, 3200 ISO, 11mm, f/2.8. Stitched with Hug­in.

96 images in the time­lapse above, each one 25 sec­onds @ 11mm, f/2.8, ISO 3200. The video took almost an hour to shoot, and, at 10 frames per sec­ond, lasts about 10 sec­onds.

Earth Day eve star trails

Star Trails

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, ISO 1600, stacked in GIMP (no dark frames).

Wind + Aurora

Star trails, with faint aurora

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 4050 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.

light streaks as the camera falls over
The moment my cam­era pitched over into the snow.

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.

Galactic panorama

Star Trails

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.

Le voilà:

Panorama of the galaxy
Panora­ma of the galaxy. 5 images, stitched with Hug­in.

Writing Retreat, Day 6

The Milky Way

Sat­ur­day, I:

  • wrote my 2,000 words in two stints;
  • crossed the 100,000-word mark in my nov­el;
  • 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 RESTROOMS FOR PAYING CUSTOMERS ONLY.

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?”

Yes, I want­ed to say.


From Trans­la­tions
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Writ­ing Retreat, Day 6

Series: Writing Retreat 2019

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2019; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 1; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 2; Writ­ing Retreat: Days 3 through 5; Writ­ing Retreat, Day 6.

Writing Retreat 2019, Day 1

Milky Way above a bluff of trees


  • wrote 1,000 words in the morn­ing,
  • went for a 11-km bike ride,
  • vis­it­ed with my land­lords for the week,
  • went on a scout­ing dri­ve for the astropho­tog­ra­phy,
  • snapped some pho­tos in the coun­try­side (below),
  • wrote anoth­er 1,000 words after sup­per,
  • fin­ished read­ing Prove­nance (review com­ing),
  • went back out into the coun­try­side and took some dark­er pho­tos (above) till the moon rose and washed out the Galaxy,
  • drove back to the cab­in, and
  • crawled into bed about 2 AM.

So far so good.

Top pho­to: tak­en about 11:45 PM or so. 12mm, 44 sec­onds, f/2.8, ISO 3200 (I think).

Series: Writing Retreat 2019

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2019; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 1; Writ­ing Retreat 2019, Day 2; Writ­ing Retreat: Days 3 through 5; Writ­ing Retreat, Day 6.