Oh, the summer night, Has a smile of light, And she sits on a sapphire throne.
After days of temperatures into the 90’s the evenings after darkness falls are far more inviting to be out in and with meteor showers taking place, Delta Aquarids now and the Perseids on the horizon, the night sky is something to be watched!
On this night I was thrilled to capture noctilucent clouds, polar mesospheric clouds. These elusive clouds form very high up, only a few kilometers below the coldest part of the atmosphere.
These are seasonal clouds, visible only during a few weeks in summer, and never visible during the day. You must also be between 50 degrees and 65 degrees north or south of the equator to have a chance of spotting them.
These were lit by the sun about an hour after it had set and their shining, shimmery look was unmistakable even to this amateur cloudwatcher.
As addictive as aurora hunting and meteor shower watching, I find myself checking for them every night.
An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
I have had several conversations lately that made me think about learning in general. I am a hands on kind of girl. When learning something new I will dissect it into manageable pieces, spend hours researching it, but then I have to get out and put it into practice. I rarely want to be shown, but would rather have the joy of discovering it first hand.
Others might prefer to be handed the formula which they can then duplicate without the risk of failure. It has been my experience though that one of the most important parts of the learning process is that time when you go out and work towards getting the results that you’re looking for. You aren’t sure what is possible and perhaps more importantly, what is not, so you experiment. It is my belief that I have learned far more from my failures than from those times when everything went perfectly.
Take last night for example…
I have been immersing myself in night photography as it opens up a whole new range of subject matter and uses my camera in a completely different way. It’s also a quiet, peaceful time without a lot of interruptions. Being as it was new moon time, hence darker skies, I planned a couple of seriously exciting milky way shots. I crept out of the house at 2:30 AM in pursuit of my images only to discover that I had grievously underestimated the amount of light pollution at my chosen sites. Strike one…
Being wide awake I changed plans and headed back home where I knew the skies would be inky black and star filled. I began a series of long exposures programmed with the aid of my intervalometer. I got over half of the shots completed and here comes a jet, high in the night sky, flashing lights through the entire scene. Strike two…
Giving myself a quick pep talk about how much I had learned for future shoots I turned around and was struck by an odd arching cloud like vision just above the trees. Can’t be a cloud I thought, I can still see the stars in it. I cancelled out the rest of my star trail shots, turned my tripod around, flipped the Nikon to the settings that I had pre programmed for the milky way, and shot. Can’t say I have ever been more surprised by what appeared on the LCD screen; not a cloud but the aurora borealis. Apparently our eyes cannot always see the colors in the northern lights especially when the auroras are close to the horizon but our cameras can!