I was just playing around with my EF50mm f/1.4 lens, shooting it wide open well after dark and my son Alexander was kind enough to indulge me for a photo.
August 23, 2009
August 15, 2009
After I waited out the rain I decided to stay out of town as the Perseid meteor shower was scheduled to be putting on a show around midnight until 2am or so. My good friend Dwight called me on my cell asking where I was. I gave him directions and half an hour later he showed up to keep me company. I kept making images as the storm headed east catchin the odd lightning flash from inside the cloud.
The stars were really nice as the storm had cleaned up the atmosphere nicely. I suppose it could be like this every night out of town, but I like the theory OK. These clouds were picking up the light from the NOVA plant and turned the strange orange colour that we now use for street lights. Do you remember the old daylight (blue) coloured ones?
The Milky Way was spectacular. There was just one problem, we weren’t seeing any meteors. When I say “any” I mean we saw three or four but that was all. I expected a big show, as they were talking on the news of 60-100 an hour or so. Anyways, it was nothing like back in 2002 or thereabout when I was out in November for the biggest show of Leonid meteors I have ever seen. Through about 3 -4 hours that night I estimated seeing close to 2500 meteors so this years show was quite a disappointment. Of course, I figure if I am going to stay up late and lose valuable rest for my body, I may as well make the most of the situation and make more images. I must say here that the Canon 5DmkII camera I own can do some fabulous work as seen in these night images shot at 3200ISO! The above image has four satellite tracks in it. Three are pretty easy to find the fourth is nearly impossible to see at the small screen resolution, but I know where to look for it and it’s there. The news casts had warned that the moon was to be in a “bright waning gibbous phase“. In other words, the moon was going to be shining brightly, blocking a lot of the fainter metoers. Luckily for us the storm clouds that had rolled through were blocking the moon’s light from reaching us and we had a great view of the stars. It didn’t take long though, until the moon was threatening to peak out from behind these clouds.
Can’t figure out what that nasty red line is doing in the above image. Sorry, every time I try to upload this file it happens. I’ll try reloading it again later to see if the problem fades away for me. Once the moon came out from behind the clouds it was like someone had turned on a giant flashlight! Fog that was forming as the temperature dropped was now easy to see and I managed an image with a vehicle driving in the fog. You can even see crepuscular rays emanating from the clouds.
I feel most blessed to have had the chance to witness the magnificence of God’s creation in action that night.
August 14, 2009
I think there really is a “Thunderstorm Alley” here in Alberta. Honestly, I believe that Lacombe must get three times the rain that Red Deer does. I have heard many people say that Red Deer has the worst summer weather because of all the storms. I think that what they mean to say is that Blackfalds and Lacombe, just north of Red Deer, have the worst weather because of all the storms. I have watched the Environment Canada radar for the last few years mostly to get a good idea of where storms are headed and how serious they are for when I want to go chasing them and it’s quite amazing the frequency that many many thunderstorms travel, you guessed it, just north of us through Blackfalds and Lacombe. No different story two nights ago when a real doozy followed this same pattern again. It’s not just Blackfalds and Lacombe that are so lucky, but I have noticed that the area around Drayton Valley seems to get it’s fair share of thunderbumpers as well. As for this latest storm to come through I knew it would travel in a path east south east from Blackfalds, so I quickly jumped in the car to head it off between there and Joffre on a high point of land I have scouted previously which offers an unhindered view for many miles. I was a bit late and the storm was pretty much on top of me. I fired off a few quick images as the setting sun made for some very dramatic lighting.
Not wanting to settle for one good image I immediately drove north right under the fast approaching storm and used my fisheye lens (image has been defisheyed) which gives you a good idea how menacing these things look as they pounce down on the land.
No time to waste here as it is starting to rain already. I quickly raced (raced is a good term to use in this case) east and south again towards Joffre to capture it again from a bit further in front, this time with a very vulnerable crop of grain in the foreground. The NOVA plant can be seen at the extreme left in the next image. I ran up the side of the ditch, planted my tripod and fired away. I also took a nice video of this thing approaching but abandoned the camera on the tripod for the safety of the car as there was quite a bit of lightning and the potential for being hit didn’t sit well with me. I let the video run for about two minutes and I made a mad dash back to retrieve the gear.
Now, I don’t give up real easy on these storms and I thought there might be some evidence of it’s passing left behind, so I travelled back north through the storm and entered into some hail. Nothing too big but enough that I parked under a tree in Joffre for a few minutes. Once the hail stopped I beelined north some more and found a swath of hail had gone through as evidenced in the photo. There were many cherry sized stones, but it had not lasted long and really didn’t cause much damage to the crops from what I could tell.
I’ll finish the story tomorrow, and it has some more interesting things that were needing to be captured by my camera. Stay tuned.
August 13, 2009
It takes no effort what’s so ever to get me out to drool over some great old vehicles!! Red Deer hosted a huge meet a couple weekends ago with around 1200 cars from all over western Canada and some from the states as well. Friday night around 7pm I dragged Laura and the boy’s downtown to watch the cruise. I say drag, because I’m virtually certain they would have rather been watching a good movie or playing video games at home. Thankfully they did manage amuse me for about 45 minutes or so. I really can’t figure out my boys and have trouble understanding how they can’t ogle these fine pieces of engineering as long as I can! Well wouldn’t you know we come across our good friend Ed and his son Tyler. The look on Laura’s face must have said a lot as Ed very quickly offered to give me a ride home and (thusly) sp.?? put my family out of it’s misery. Thank you Ed!! We stayed downtown until well after dark and until virtually every vehicle had finally made it out onto Gaetz Avenue for the real reason you own a vehicle like this – serious cruisin’. Ahhh, the smell of fossil fuels being burned by some mean horsepower – there really is nothing to compare it to.