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 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.

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.

Image processing: before and after

I took a cou­ple pic­tures of the Milky Way tonight, as is my wont, and decid­ed to present you with how it looked com­ing fresh out of my cam­era, and how it looks once I’ve cleaned it up. Enjoy!

Clear skies at the farm

The halfway tree at night

We got to the farm last night in the dark, and the skies were clear and star­ry. So, after vis­it­ing for a bit, I took my cam­era and tri­pod out in the lane.

Writing Retreat 2020, day 5

Comet NEOWISE

Wednes­day:

  • Processed pho­tos
  • Wrote 1,000 words in the morn­ing, 1,000 in the evening
  • Biked about 6½ km
  • Kayaked for a bit more than ½ hour
  • Read a few more chap­ters in The Knight
  • Went to the cof­fee shop for some (rel­a­tive­ly) high-speed internet
  • Rejoiced that the fore­cast calls for clear skies tonight — fin­gers crossed for more comet action!
  • Mut­tered to myself when the sky was, in fact, cloudy at 10pm, 11pm, and midnight
  • Checked one last time in my pyja­mas at 1am, and saw stars
  • …and so I found a cou­ple dark spots, snapped some more pho­tos, and fell into bed at 3am

Series: Writing Retreat 2020

The entire series: Writ­ing Retreat 2020; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 1 & 2; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 3; Writ­ing Retreat, Day 4; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, day 5; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 6; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 7; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 8; Writ­ing Retreat 2020, Day 9; Writ­ing Retreat 2020: The Num­bers.