Friday, August 12, 2011

...Playa by Night

Let's pick up where we left off: dusk.

The veil falls

Extra clothes on, we sat back and enjoyed the show that nighttime brought to the desert. Many miles away from any light sources, and without a moon until the wee hours, the darkness was oppressive. In fact, it was only mitigated by the trillions of stars turning the sky into an enveloping blanket of pinpoint-driven imagination.

Some Milky Way telephoto action

As the hours wore on, we were treated to dozens of shooting stars, including the biggest one I've ever seen. It lit up the sky, changed colors, broke apart, kept going, and eventually covered about 120 degrees of arc; nearly horizon-to-horizon.

I took the time to set up a long exposure that would include the horizon and the North Star. What you see below is about 120 stacked 20" exposures. Some quick math tells me that's about 40 minutes. Easier when there's no light pollution to drown the stars out! The higher concentration of stars in the right part of the frame is due to the Milky Way. And yes, there are a couple satellites cruising through.

Big Wheel

Then, when the clock said something-AM but still hours before the sun's arrival, a faint glow appeared near the eastern horizon and I went into photo hyperdrive. Must. Get. Right. We served witness to perhaps the most spectacular moonrise I've ever seen. The faint glow slowly warmed and grew to a disk that wasn't bright enough to overpower the stars; truly a special sight.

The moon approaches

After probably half an hour, the moon finally peeked over the horizon for an even more stunning view.

Hi! I'm far away!

Fully rejuvenated by this ridiculous stargazing, we packed up our gear and wiggled into our bags. This is stuff that not everyone gets to see.

Thanks for visiting :)


1 comment:

Ryan D said...


Past Detritus