Cold Light

_C1_5524The Sun returned to us today, but with a price: highs in the 20s, wind chills in the single digits and a smattering of snow, even when the Sun was shining. The sunlight and cold aren’t opposites; the northern air is so cold that those clouds we’ve had for the last month can finally drop out of the sky. I played sub-freezing Ultimate with some other knuckleheads, including a few first-timers.

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_C1_5616The evening drew on and temperatures fell; looks like it’s about 16 degrees as I type this. Still, a cloudless sky is a valuable opportunity.

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_C1_5634A full Moon, a comet and Jupiter are above us tonight. I wish I could do them justice with the equipment I have.

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_C1_5654This is Orion — my first shot of a constellation. Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2, is now visible from Earth near Orion’s bottom right. The Moon is bright enough to give the glare in this image and drown out the comet, but it should be dimming enough in the next week or two to see the comet with the naked eye. I’ll have to try again; this is the best I could get tonight:

_C1_5655It’s that fuzzy green thing near the middle, trailing a faint wisp, the merest suggestion of a tail. Like an eclipse, these celestial crossings, even seen through a noisy long exposure, remind me there are inconceivably huge and grand things happening beyond our little world. Remember that, will you?

Thanks for passing by,

Dan

Night Lights

_C1_7577Happy 238th birthday to the U.S.A.! May we continue teaching each other about all of that history: how we as a people have failed and triumphed, and have failed and triumphed again, in our struggle for liberty and coexistence.

I took the chance to see two public fireworks shows this weekend: first in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and again with family in Springfield, Missouri. Fayetteville’s mall hosted the display, and families turned out hours beforehand for bounce-house lines, cover bands and explosives, so I came early, too. That’s the source of most of these images, with a handful from a couple hours’ drive north thrown in at the end.

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Thanks for looking! I hope your fireworks were awesome, no appendages were damaged and you were where you wanted to be.

Dan

Night Fayetteville II

_C1_1446Continuing my occasional series (part 1 here) of scenes from this town in darkness.

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_C1_1362Recently I thought about how some potential night-time shots stick out to me only because of the time of day. In other words, I might ignore them if the sun were out. But I realized that’s sort of the point: Even a familiar place is simply different when the only light is ours.

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_C1_1474This exercise continues to show me how much I have to learn. I still lose images because I’m too often too timid to ask people if I can take their picture. I’m afraid of being seen as weird or creepy. But even if the answer’s no, it’s just a question. I have to keep practicing.

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_C1_1479One lost opportunity in particular was during Mardi Gras (which was incredibly tame downtown, at least when I was there, probably because of the weather.) A bartender in a costume of green, gold and purple sequins arranged like a 5 of diamonds card was taking a smoke break. Light spilled from the doorway to her right, glinting off of her sequins and outlining her face as the cigarette’s tip glowed dull orange. All else in the frame was dark.

It was the only holiday-themed image I saw, and I missed it.

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_C1_1507I can only keep trying.

Thanks for looking along the way.

Dan

PS, for Jenny:

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