Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Nightime In Florida

Click for a Larger Image of West Summerland Key SunsetOur weather here has been a combination of good and evil. The temperature has been warm, the sky has been clear, but the wind has been blowing so strongly that many observers turned in early because the telescopes were too difficult to hold steady. Last night I took down my satellite dish and the telescope because it was just too windy to trust that both items would still be in place in the morning! Finally today the wind died down, but the price to pay for that is increased clouds and murkier skies. The sunset has been pretty -- this photo points almost due south, and was taken just as the sun was setting to the right. It is near the spot where I camped the last few Winter Star Parties, but this year I am further away as I would not have been able to fit the RV between the trees in this area.

Click For Larger Image of Winter Star Party at NightI have been trying some existing light photography, and have learned some things that work and some that don't. In addition to the constellations, I tend to photograph things that are lit, even if dimly. You will note that the light source in this picture is red -- astronomers always use red lights when observing, because red affects night vision the least.

Last night I was searching for photographic targets on the gravel road that runs through the camp, when I came upon the snack shed (also lit only in red light). So I set down the tripod on the grass off the road, and was focusing on the building when I noticed a man walking towards me, with a camera around his neck. As he got closer he saw me standing there and said, "Geeze. Every time I want to take a picture, a photographer is already there!" and then he walked away. Now:

  1. It is a long road, and the side of the road is wide, so there is a lot of room for many people to take photographs at the same time,
  2. If my spot was the only one that would do, I would have been finished and gone about 30 seconds later, leaving this perfect spot of all spots all to him, and
  3. He was doomed to fail, anyway, because it was totally dark and he did not have a tripod. No vibration reduction technology is going to handle that one!
I never saw him again, but I hope he realizes that he will never be rewarded with great photos if he insists on being the only one to take a photo from any one particular spot!

1 comment:


It's the solitude factor. The poor guy wanted to be alone with his camera.