Last week I was at a rented cabin up at Minnedosa, writin’ words and takin’ photos. I had a bunch of goals for the week, but how’d I do?Continue reading “Writing Retreat 2021: The week in review”
- 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.)
- 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.
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
- I didn’t have enough fuel to get me to the photo site I’d checked out earlier and back, and
- 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.
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, ISO 1600. Edited using GIMP.
“And yet it moves,” as Galileo is alleged to have said, though the story is probably apocryphal.
The star trails in the photo and the videos all involve 70 frames, 30 seconds each, at 11mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600. The Milky Way is faint, but it’s there.
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!
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.
- 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