Writing Retreat 2021, day 5

Milky Way and Perseid

Thurs­day, I:

  • 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 1114mm 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.)

Series: Writing Retreat 2021

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2021, Day Zero; Writ­ing Retreat, Day One; Writ­ing Retreat, day 2; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 3; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 4; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 5; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 6.

Writing Retreat 2021, day 4

Close-up: meteor burning up in the sky

On Wednes­day, I:

  • Rewrote a scene in “The Slow Apocalypse”
  • 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 4060/hour that the web­sites claimed you’d see on the peak night of the mete­or shower.

Long shot of a meteor burning up in the skyStar Trails

Series: Writing Retreat 2021

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2021, Day Zero; Writ­ing Retreat, Day One; Writ­ing Retreat, day 2; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 3; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 4; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 5; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 6.

Writing Retreat 2021, day 3

The Milky Way at Spruces in Riding Mountain National Park

Tues­day, I:

  • Wrote more in the out­line for “Praise the Torch”
  • Went for a bike ride (it was cool when I start­ed, but warmed up as the sun came out)
  • Read about a dozen chap­ters in William Gib­son’s Zero His­to­ry—it’s been a long time since I read it, so it’s pret­ty much like read­ing it again for the first time
  • Reworked a chap­ter in “The Slow Apoc­a­lypse” and made minor changes in a few oth­er places
  • Watched some Fire­fly
  • Met up with my friend Tim (who was camp­ing at Wasagam­ing) at Spruces for some very dark sky pho­tos (it’s been a long time since I saw the Milky Way so promi­nent to the naked eye)

I saw a cou­ple of mete­ors at Spruces, includ­ing one large, slow one that unfor­tu­nate­ly was­n’t where my cam­era was aimed.

Series: Writing Retreat 2021

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2021, Day Zero; Writ­ing Retreat, Day One; Writ­ing Retreat, day 2; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 3; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 4; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 5; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 6.

Writing Retreat, Day One

The Milky Way above the road and trees

In my first full day at the cab­in, I:

  • Worked on the out­line for “Praise the Torch When ‘Tis Burned” (aka the “ghosts in a derelict star­ship” story)
  • Went for a bike ride, snapped a few pho­tos (one of which I liked—the “On Reflec­tion” below)
  • Stopped in at the store for a cou­ple of gro­ceries that I forgot
  • Decid­ed, on see­ing how many peo­ple in the store were maskless—including at least one employee—that I’m going to make do with what I’ve got for as long as I can
  • Went for a dri­ve to check out a pos­si­ble pho­to site dis­cov­ered by my friend Tim
  • Met up with Tim in Sandy Lake for a phys­i­cal­ly-dis­tanced chin-wag on the sidewalk
  • Worked some more on the “Torch” outline
  • Real­ized at about 10:15 pm that 
    1. I did­n’t have enough fuel to get me to the pho­to site I’d checked out ear­li­er and back, and 
    2. all the gas sta­tions in my vicin­i­ty were closed
  • Watched an episode of Fire­fly
  • Checked the sky just before midnight—nice and dark and clear—then looked up “Dark Sky Sites Near Me
  • Decid­ed to check out a fair­ly close site, about fif­teen min­utes’ dri­ve from the cabin
  • Got the head­er pho­to (and a cou­ple others)
  • Returned to the cab­in at 1:30am and dropped into bed.
Milky Way (unprocessed photo)The Milky Way above the road and trees
The Galaxy, before and after image processing

Series: Writing Retreat 2021

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2021, Day Zero; Writ­ing Retreat, Day One; Writ­ing Retreat, day 2; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 3; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 4; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 5; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 6.

Writing Retreat 2021, Day Zero

Star Trails in the haze

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.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Writ­ing Retreat 2021, Day Zero”

Series: Writing Retreat 2021

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2021, Day Zero; Writ­ing Retreat, Day One; Writ­ing Retreat, day 2; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 3; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 4; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 5; Writ­ing Retreat 2021, day 6.

The Milky Way, early on Canada Day

Milky Way above the hydro lines

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.

Milky Way above the hydro lines
Milky Way above the hydro lines (unedited)Milky Way above the hydro lines
Before and after processing.

Both pho­tos: 20 sec­ond expo­sures, 11mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600. Edit­ed using GIMP.