It was quite a show last night. The aurora covered the northern sky, east to west, and reached up overhead. For about 15 minutes around 11:15pm, it looked like the videos you see that are shot up in the north: bright, sharp, and frenetic.
The image at the top is a panorama, 6 photos, stretching just about 180° from west to east.
Some of the photos in the gallery below were taken literally 2–5 seconds apart.
It was the best show I’ve seen in decades, and here’s to more active shows in the months and years to come.
Nerdy details: all images were 11mm, f/2.8. Exposure times varied between 1 and 5 seconds. ISO was either 1600 or 3200.
Worked some more on “The Slow Apocalypse” (minor edits in several sections, and a new chapter in the “What we will lose the fire” sequence, excerpted below)
Also worked on the “Praise the Torch” outline—I feel like I’m getting close to endgame, but I keep going back and adding things in so they’ll pay off later
Watched a truck try to maneuver a new cabin into the cabin area (eventually they did it, though they had to trim a couple evergreens back)
Drove back out to Spruces for some more Milky Way photos (it was calmer, and I got to listen to the waves on the shore and the occasional loon)
Jane had fallen asleep. No, that was too gentle a term for it. Jane had collapsed into unconsciousness, and soft snores, well-earned, came from her bed. Night had fallen, outside, and Mímir paced slowly back and forth in front of the window, looking out onto a view of parked cars under a light dusting of snow, six stories below, the lot illuminated by great lights, bright white fringed in violet, on tall, thin metal poles. The boy slept against his shoulder, wrapped in a white-and-blue hospital sheet of napped cotton fleece.
Mímir wondered what his dreams might be, if they would even make sense to anyone not a newborn.
From “The Slow Apocalypse”
The two images above were taken with my 50mm lens, which results in a much tighter shot than the 11–14mm that I usually use for night photography. Both the images above are composites; the one with the trees is 2 shots merged into one (you can probably see the seam), and the other is a stack of 6 images, manually merged, to try to bring out the detail in a segment of the galaxy.
The image at the top is one of about 200, the only one where I caught a Perseid meteor in the frame. (I did see quite a few last night, about a dozen or so, including three very bright ones. I think the one in the photo is one of the earlier ones, and I remember thinking after it had burned up, I hope I got that on camera.)
Got lunch to go from the local coffeeshop with my friend Tim, who’s on his way home from camping at Wasagaming
Continued outlining for “Praise the Torch”
Went for a bike ride (it was pretty windy, but at least it was at my back on the way back to the cabin)
Drove to a side road off Mountain Road and watched for Perseids
I saw about six or eight meteors with the naked eye, and caught a few small ones and one longer one with my camera. I was on the side road in the dark for about an hour. Maybe I was too early for the 40–60/hour that the websites claimed you’d see on the peak night of the meteor shower.
It’s that time of year again: the 2021 edition of my writing retreat has begun. I booked my time at the cabin to coincide with the new moon, to make for some better astrophotography opportunities, and then found out later that, coincidentally, I’d also be up here for the peak of the Perseid meteor shower.
I went out around midnight to get some photos of the galaxy. My spot about 15 minutes south of town was dark and quiet, except the occasional lowing of cattle and the buzzing of mosquitoes. I saw a couple fireflies too.
Both photos: 20 second exposures, 11mm, f/2.8, ISO1600. Edited using GIMP.