Tuesday, June 16, 2009

#084-265 Empty

The second series of the other night's shooting was what I consider to be one of the wonders of this great hobby that we have all undertaken. Both of these shots were 30 second exposures, and the first is approximately what I saw with the naked eye. The stars quite visible and the gusting clouds at least discernible. The second photo was what emerged when I did some processing, (light adjustment in enhance) but here again I have kept my interference to a minimum.

When I boosted the lighting adjustments I saw literally hundreds of stars, but got worried that they were just noise and not stars that I was seeing, another shot (with less stars - offset to the west) showed most of the stars to the right of this photo in the exact same alignment and many of the others too. However when I tried to show the hundreds of stars, the illumination of the clouds made the whole sky appear a deep rusty colour, so I satisfied myself with this shot, knowing that all of the stars shown are stars (Constellations, Galaxies whatever). Yet still pleasing to my eye.

Now justifying the Theme choice for all the Pedants, among you, when you look at a night sky (Especially in a city) it is easy to think of space as being just that (Empty Space) but in so far as what I saw with my own eyes is pretty well depicted in the first shot, and reality is better represented in the second. It is evident to me that as Einstein said -"It's All Relative - Don'tya Know" To put this in perspective a little story.
Back in 1980 the Army assigned myself and two others to guard three semi trailers that they had positioned south of the kimberlies (In the desert) loaded with supplies for an Infantry Battalion on exercise that was due to come through during a three week window (In the end the Battalion got diverted and I had the greatest Holiday I have ever had). Through unforeseen circumstance, I found myself alone out there and scary as it was that first evening (I was in radio contact) I got a reward the next (Very early) morning.
Before retiring I had built up a substantial fire for security I think as it was not cold, which died down as I slept my life away, at about 3.30am I awoke to find the fire completely died down, and was "gob smacked" (Astounded) by the sky! Unless you have been there or out at sea with the smoking light off, you won't know what I mean, but the stars carpeted the sky (COMPLETELY) where there were gaps there was the hint of a pearl like glow behind the gap, which to my mind were just MORE stars.
Needless to say from that point on I did most of my sleeping in fits and starts through out the day, and made sure that the fire was extinguished before dusk, because for three weeks I was privileged to watch the greatest show in the universe - THE UNIVERSE, and it cost me nothing yet was priceless and remains crystal clear in my mind and on the day I die, that image will spring to my mind with the words - I'm Going THERE!


Sherrie said...

Hi Ron,
Great shot of nothing! I often look at the starry sky and wish I had a camera good enough to capture what I see!


Chesney said...

What a beautiful story, Ron! I can only imagine! Your images fit the theme perfectly!

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience in the Badlands. There is nothing in that area that lightens the view, just a cloud of stars. Even better, a ranger had a telescope and what we saw through that was life-remembering, too!

Anonymous said...

The sky you describe in your story is pretty unimaginable for someone who has lived all her life in and near cities. I think my best-ever view of the skies was from the High Sierras in California when I was a kid, though we do get some pretty nice views in the summer in rural Quebec.

jo said...

What a great memory you described. A couple of times in my life I've been somewhere away from the lights and smog of densely populated areas and the night sky was awesome!

Anonymous said...

Love the story - I've seen some of those star-filled skys and they are astounding. I had to enlarge your photos to get the full effect. The first just looked completely dark and my first thought was "Ron's been hitting the Wild Turkey again and forgot to take off the lens cap". Should have known you wouldn't let me down.

Clara said...

I have been in the Idaho wilderness miles and miles from any electric lights. The sky is totally mindblowing, I agree.

MevetS said...

The "deep rusty color" is sky glow and light pollution. If you really want to pursue astrophotography you can get a light pollution suppression (LPS) filter to help cut down on this. And you can work with white balance in Photoshop to get rid of it was well.

Another trick is to take a series of shorter exposures and then "stack" them to get the equivalent of one long exposure. Photoshop extended can do stacking and there are good freeware programs as well.

And if you really get the bug you'll need a mount that can track the stars. Google "barn door tracker" for ideas on how to make a simple one.

Have fun!