Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Passing Time with the Pines

I went out again last night in search of some Milky Way images and also had an idea in mind for a star trail shot.  I went to the same area of pine trees that I went to the other night when I made the "Ancient Earth" image.  This time, though, the conditions were much better.  The humidity was much lower and the haze that was in the sky the other night was not present, making the visibility of the stars much better.  The best part, though, was the lack of mosquitoes!  Sure, there were a few mosquitoes, but nothing at all like the other night!  The lack of bugs makes all the difference in the world for an enjoyable night out in the woods.  I hope you like this image, it represents 49 minutes of time collecting light on to a single exposure.  I just love this tree line and shot some northern lights here last October.  It's one of my favorite locations for shooting the night sky.  

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ancient Earth

Here is an image of the Milky Way Galaxy from the night of July 27, 2014.  We had clear skies for the first part of that night so I decided to head out and try a new location for some Milky Way shooting.  The location ended up being great, but the conditions were less than ideal.  It was a comfortable night temperature-wise, but the humidity was pretty high which I think hindered the view of the stars somewhat.  Straight off the camera, the stars didn't have the impact that they have in some of my other shots than on nights earlier this summer.  Still, it was a beautiful night and I felt the images were worthy of a workup.  

Oh, and did I mention that the mosquitoes were about the worst I've ever experienced!  There must have been millions of them and they were swarming everywhere.  For the first hour of my shooting they just would not leave me alone.  Then, at about 12:30 AM, they just kind of disappeared.  I don't know where they went or what happened to them, but they were just... gone.  Anyway, this image was made at 11:40 PM, during the height of the mosquito swarms.  I decided to call this image "Ancient Earth", because with the Milky Way we are literally looking back in time, since we are looking at light that has already burned before it reaches our eyes.  That thought, in my mind, combined with the old-growth pine trees sort of brings these connections of age and time together.   

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fire Tower and the Milky Way Galaxy

I'm going through and reworking some of my Milky Way images.  When I first shot some of these I was still using Paint Shop Pro photo software which was limiting in how you could process the images.  Now that I'm using Lightroom I'm finding I can really get a lot more out of these images as my editing skills evolve.  When I compare this reworked image to the original way I had worked it up, I cannot believe that I ever let the original edit be seen.  This one is just so much better!  You could barely see the Milky Way in the first version.  In this one it really jumps out more.  This image will make a killer print!  This was taken on August 12, 2012 as some friends and I were sitting out watching the Perseid meteor shower.  I'm hoping for some nice clear skies again this year for watching the meteor shower, although the moon will be full so we may not see very many meteors anyway.  Either way, if it's a clear sky it will be a beautiful night!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Foggy Night Yard Light

Last night, for the first time ever, I did not hate my neighbor's yard light.  Most of the time I despise it, as it washes out so much of the night sky.  It's one of those really bright sodium vapor lights on an electric pole.  Way brighter than it needs to be and most of the light is sent up into the sky where it is, essentially, wasted light.  Last night, however, it was beautiful.  As the sun was setting the fog rolled in off Lake Superior and by the time it was dark the yard light was casting these incredible beams of light through the trees and the fog.  I just had to make some images of the scene :-)  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

After the Storm

I love it when a storm is clearing.  Magical things happen and some of the most beautiful images are made as a storm is dissipating.  Here is one such image of a rainbow that formed over Grand Portage Bay as a thunderstorm was breaking up out over Lake Superior.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Heron Family

Here is my favorite shot of the Herons from Thursday.  Remember the Osprey pictures that I posted yesterday?  Well, right in the same area as the Osprey nest is an entire Heron rookery!  There are at least 18 nests in the rookery, and each nest had at least two (sometimes three) young ones in it.  I sat and watched the rookery for a little over 3 hours and in that time I saw about 8 to 10 adults fly in for brief moments to feed the young ones.  The nest shown in this photo is by far the most photogenic one and I had my eyes on it all morning hoping an adult would fly to it.  I was starting to think it wasn't going to happen and eventually said to myself that I would give it another half hour then I had to start heading home.  About 15 minutes later an adult flew in and landed on the nest for less than two minutes.  That was when I made this picture :-)  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Three Little Osprey

Yesterday I had the good fortune of being able to see three young osprey in their nest!  The nest is near a heron rookery and whenever an adult heron flew in to feed its young they would make a LOT of noise.  The young osprey seemed curious about all the raucous noise the young herons were making and would peek out from inside their nest to see what was going on.  Each time they peeked out I was able to make several nice images of them.  They must be getting close to leaving the nest because every now and then one of them would stand up and flap their wings like crazy, like they were testing them out.  I even got to see one of the adults bring a fish to the nest but unfortunately the osprey's back was to me when it landed.  It may not be a "perfect" shot, but I still like it.  It sure was a fun morning spent watching these birds!