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We're 6-7 days from peak, but I picked up at least five Perseid meteors in this south-facing composite captured in Lyon County, Nevada last night.

 

The Perseid meteor shower is increasing while six less intense smaller showers are also active. I see five decent ones here, with three pointing back to the radiant point of the Perseid meteor shower.

Dark skies for miles, some of the darkest skies in the world! This area is a short distance south of Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area in far northern Washoe County, Nevada, which had has been designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA).

Colorful aspen trees in the Eastern Sierra region, from 2012.

 

Update March 2017: I updated the edit while I prepare for 2017 workshops, including one for Eastern Sierra fall colors.

Join me this Friday for the Wild Nevada 2016 calendar release party in the Reno/Tahoe area:

WHEN: November 06, 2015 at 4pm - 6pm

WHERE: Friends of Nevada Wilderness Headquarters

1360 Greg St, Suite 111

Sparks, Nevada 89431

RSVP:

www.nevadawilderness.org/calendar_release_party_2015

 

This large calendar is only $13, and it raises funds for +Friends of Nevada Wilderness. You can order copies here: www.nevadawilderness.org/shop#!/2016-Wild-Nevada-Calendar...

 

My shot of a lightning storm over the Wovoka Wilderness was shot from a hilltop next to Masonic Road in the Bodie Hills, overlooking the East Walker River and the Rosaschi Ranch.

 

A new Nevada State Park on the East Walker River will preserve 29 river miles toward the southern end of Mason Valley.

Aspen trees on a stormy fall afternoon in the Eastern Sierra earlier this week.

In addition to the headlights and a light in the interior, I used the fading twilight light coming over the horizon to the left for fill and back light, and used a cool (blue-white LED) flashlight as the main key light to the right. In portrait photography it's common to think of the key light as front-lighting the subject, but I didn't want too much light on the grill, to preserve the contrast of the headlights vs. the dark front, and the overall mood of a slightly enlivened hulk of a car.

 

With roughly a quarter of a million visitors to Bodie each year, some say that this 1937 Chevy is the most photographed car in the world. I have plenty of photos of it myself, but I like to try different photographic treatments.to explore what more can be done with it.

 

I had the 16-35mm lens zoomed in all the way to 35mm and the aperture backed off to f/5.6 to slightly soften the background and help the car "pop" as the subject.

The Walker Fire in the Mono Basin casts orange light on clouds, as seen from the Bodie Hills on Friday night.

 

Bodie Basin ACEC, California - designated for its historic landscape surrounding Bodie Ghost Town.

Perseid meteors and satellites brighten up the sky over the Bodie Hills after the 2013 Friends of Bodie Day event in Bodie State Historic Park, California.

An antelope in a May snowfall in the Bodie Hills. I don't see a lot of antelope in the area, but this was the second time that I saw them in the Bodie Hills this year, so let's hope that they have a nice batch of offspring this year, to keep the herd healthy.

I'm still working on my images from the Camelopardalid meteor shower last night. So in the meantime to kill some time while last night's images process, I produced this composite image showing 40 meteors from 4 hours of the Perseid meteor shower early in the morning of August 12, 2013.

The dark skies made the stars too bright to see meteors in images processed to create star trails last year. This year the bright moon will cause fewer stars and meteors to be seen, but the few Perseid fireballs bright enough to show up will be visible in a less busy sky..

A low, flat Milky Way orientation is available in spring. I lit the mill less brightly in this shot to enable the Milky Way to shine more brightly in the result.

shooting from the vicinity of Coleville over the lights of Minden / Gardnerville around 2 am early this morning. I uploaded time-lapse videos to my YouTube and Vimeo accounts.

A six image panorama of the Milky Way over the Standard Mill in Bodie State historic Park, California.

The annual Perseid meteor shower is ramping up, but the moon will increasingly interfere with viewing. This one was caught to the northeast while out looking for Delta Aquarids and Piscis Austranids.

Update March 2017: I updated the edit while I prepare for 2017 workshops.

What does it mean? It means that there's still gold in those hills, of course!

 

Captured Saturday after the annual Friends of Bodie Day event held by the Bodie Foundation. The evening program was expected to run until 8:30 pm or so as tours were led up on Bodie Bluff, but lightning cancelled those tours, so the park kicked everyone else out by 6:30. It was a little frustrating since I had planned on attending the event to catch the full moon rise at 7:30 pm.

I went out for some evening light last week, and the clouds did not disappoint.

Colorful aspen trees in the Eastern Sierra, early October 2015. A cold front passed through and burned some aspen leaves to shades of black to brown, which gave some trees a darker, more contrasting color. Fortunately, a generous quantity of healthy green leaves survived intact, and continued their gradual change towards shades of yellow, orange and red.

From our workshop a couple of weeks ago; I can't wait to head back out here on Saturday!

The Perseid meteor shower is coming! There was smoke from a forest fire in the air when I captured this last year, so it was a bit like shooting through a tobacco filter.

 

This was captured over a BLM Wilderness Study Area on the Mono County/Alpine County border in the Eastern Sierra.

An image from the time-lapse video I created from my latest workshops in Bodie, captured on the APS-C "crop sensor" of the Canon EOS 70D.

Every night this week we have scattered thunder storms in the forecast here in the Eastern Sierra. Fortunately the storms are often breaking up enough by sunset to let a lot of sunset color through, first yellow golden hour light, then oranges, then as blue hour light takes over, shades of magenta, pink and purple emerge. For Saturday night's workshop we in time to enjoy the entire range of color progression from golden hour through sunset and blue hour. The clouds were a little slow in clearing up, but they did make way for star shots, including compositions featuring the Milky Way, before the moon started approaching on the eastern horizon.

On my way to Bodie just over a week ago I spotted a small herd of antelope trudging through the snow in a field alongside the road. I don't see a lot of antelope in the area, but this is the second time I've seen them in the Bodie Hills this year, so let's hope that they have a nice batch of offspring this year, to keep the herd healthy.

I've been so busy this week it's hard to get my head around this being shot only 5 days ago, on Tuesday! Lori Hibbett and I are heading back out there tonight to lead a night photography workshop there, then gain access to interiors the following morning.

 

Fortunately the weather has warmed up considerably this week, with a high of 73 expected tonight and lows in the 40s.

 

Contact us if you'd be interested. We have room tonight and still have a few alternate dates open this year as well.

Sun rays break through clouds over the Bodie Hills, October 2015.

Earth-threatening minor planet 2002 EX12 (comet 169P/NEAT) has been identified as the parent body of the alpha Capricornid shower. Many meteor shower guides list this minor shower as starting around July 15, while others put the start date as early as July 3.

 

Featured in Explore, highest position: 19 on Friday, July 12, 2013.

 

You can see which of your photos have been in Explore using Scout (simply insert your user ID in the space provided at this link: bighugelabs.com/scout.php?username=23183960@N00&combi...

The last light of the sun on Bodie during "golden hour" in mid-August.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.”

― Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

 

A sunset photo taken while fly fishing on the East Walker River.

 

A new Nevada State Park on the East Walker River will preserve 29 river miles in Nevada, toward the southern end of Mason Valley.

It was snowing in Bodie when we visited on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. It will be significantly warmer when we return on Sunday night, but there may still be a few patches of snow on the ground decorating our shots.

A few days ago I suggested that photographers go out in the early morning hours, look east, and look for meteors from the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. All week we've had storms here, so I wasn't able to look for it myself. Yesterday morning, I finally had my chance. I did capture many meteors, but mainly as the apparent source, or radiant point, of the meteor shower rose above the horizon starting around 2:40 am.

 

Then reviewing my shots I saw this one earlier, around 12:23 am. Was it an Eta Aquarid? Meteors could come shooting up over the horizon a couple of hours before the radiant point in the constellation Aquarius rose, but I think that was going to occur more centered in this picture. So the trail of an Eta Aquarid meteor should be pointing down and to the left, towards a point below the center, almost 90 degrees from this one's path. So although this one appears to the observing camera to be roughly in the sky where many of the meteors did show up 2 to 3 hours later, it doesn't appear to be from the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Random meteors happen.

 

Well, Eta Aquarid meteor or not, this meteor's timing was great, streaking through the Milky Way while the lake was calm enough to provide an only slightly blurry reflection of it. It's interesting to notice that the star reflections blur towards the camera as slight waves come towards shore in this long exposure, but the path of the meteor is more erratic because it doesn't stay still as waves make the reflecting surface also move. Too often you'll see a photo with a perfect mirror reflection of the stars. Can an entire lake be a perfectly flat mirror for the 30 seconds typically required to capture a star shot like this? A small puddle perhaps, and a reflection in a lake looks mirror smooth for a short sunset exposure, but over the course of a long exposure, lake surfaces move. I haven't seen a real lake provide a Photoshop-like mirror surface for a long dark sky exposure, but I hope I live long enough to see that night.

 

This image was featured in Flickr's Explore, highest position: #97 on May 14, 2013

 

You can see which of your photos have been in Explore using Scout (simply insert your user ID in the space provided at this link: bighugelabs.com/scout.php?username=23183960@N00&combi...

The lightning storms largely haven't quite materialized over the last few days as forecast, so I have to look back to photos from last year to refresh my memory of them. This star trails image featuring 45 individual shots is a 16 x 9 shape because I included the same images I used to make my HD time-lapse video of this event.

 

The stars of course were never "in front of the cloud", the stars were simply there before the cloud moved there in later shots of the series.

 

None of my shots from this night are in a "print ready" state yet. I've been too busy working on my California book project, and this storm was just over the border in Nevada.

Last year I had the privilege of being able to bring several groups of photographers into America's best preserved ghost town, Bodie State Historic Park, at night, and one time we returned before dawn the next morning for access to the interiors of the buildings as well.

 

On this night we arrived to see storm clouds and isolated columns of rain on the horizon, but the sun was low so it was shooting golden light under the dark clouds. We did have a few minutes when the rain passed over us, but that only improved the conditions, giving us rainbows and wet rusty cars to shoot. The clouds soon cleared up so we could shoot the Milky Way and star trials over Bodie's landmarks.

 

UPDATE: Two photographers with us on this night won the Bodie Foundation's 2014 calendar contest with photos they captured on this night. Check out Bert Dennison's photo below.

 

I'll be leading both types of workshops again this year, so if photography at sunset, sunrise and pursuing night shots in a ghost town sounds like fun to you, drop me a Flickrmail and I can provide you with more details.

  

This image was featured in Flickr's Explore, highest position: #199 on Friday, May 17, 2013

 

You can see which of your photos have been in Explore using Scout (simply insert your user ID in the space provided at this link: bighugelabs.com/scout.php?username=23183960@N00&combi...

I'm leading workshops in the Eastern Sierra for the next 4 consecutive weekends...can't wait! This was taken about a week ago. Check my blog for descriptions of the workshops.

A sunset storm as seen from the Bodie Hills over the Rosaschi Ranch near the California-Nevada border.

Note: major edit upgrade 5/2009 (re-processed with HDR software).

 

Dark thunder clouds hang over Bodie, the "best-preserved ghost town in the American West."

 

Bodie State Historic Park, CA. I've entered an October 2006 entry for this trip and place in my photoblog: activesole.blogspot.com/

People come from all over the world to see and experience the dark night skies of California, Nevada, and the Western United States, but the resource is eroding, vanishing over time.

 

Light pollution isn't just bad for night photography, it affects human health, bird and insect migration, and astronomy. The over-use of unnecessary lighting also affects power use and climate. We may not be able to stop these trends, but perhaps we can slow them.

Captured during our night photography workshops in Bodie State Historic Park, California. We'll be back in the park on October 4-5, 2014.

Captured during our night photography workshops in Bodie State Historic Park, California. We'll be back in the park on October 4-5, 2014.

Captured during one of our night photography workshops in Bodie State Historic Park, California.

The view from our campsite yesterday morning.

 

I woke far too early this morning, the light of the full moon overhead still far outshining the light of the coming dawn. But I could tell that dawn was approaching by the sounds of birds singing, the excitement with which they greet each coming day in the Spring when days have... extra meaning and purpose… the ecstasy of finding a mate, the excitement and fulfillment of raising a brood together, the responsibility of using each hour and day well to best ensure their survival. A pair of owls were hooting back and forth, back and forth, celebrating the end of night, perhaps wishing each other a restful sleep, or simply making a peaceful, reassuring call to say “I’m here with you”.

 

There was little color in the sky to reveal how dramatic the sunrise might be, but there were enough clouds on the horizon to catch the inevitable sunlight that it looked promising. Landscape photography cannot be about simply capturing beauty, since the fleeting nature of the beauty requires that you anticipate it, prepare for it, and are ready to act competently and decisively in those brief moments then the opportunity is there. In that respect landscape photography may serve as a metaphor for life. People can anticipate, prepare for, and make full use of opportunities, in other words play some active role in creating them. Go create yours!

On a ridge overlooking Coleville, California.

Seen through smoke from California's wildfires, a Perseid meteor and the Milky Way over the Sierra Nevada Saturday night.

Scorpions are cool, but I prefer not to find them in the back of my SUV when I'm about to sleep in it!

 

At least I didn't find it while driving.

Alongside the East Walker River in Nevada.

 

This photo was taken near The Elbow and the Nine Mile Ranch, near the upcoming new Nevada State Park on the East Walker River.

Smoke from the Foresta Fire settled into the Mono Lake Basin Saturday morning. It's very smoky in Northern Mono County the Eastern Sierra today, from the big fire near Pymouth in Amador County as well.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument at night.

 

This is a 6-minute exposure taken on a Canon Digital Rebel XTi with the kit 18-55mm lens. It doesn't take fancy equipment to produce nice images!

The elongated diamond shape of this flash is typical of Iridium flares, and the satellite which caused it was dimply visible in the preceding and following images.

 

Captured during the Camelopardalid meteor shower.

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