The Perseids meteor shower, with all the hype and rage swirling about the event, lured me out into a fallow section of a soy bean field into the wee hours of early morning. Did I mention the wee hours? So, there I was at 10:30 PM, surrounded by learned Astronomer types, crops, and howling coyotes, with my eyes well adjusted, and my excitement and expectations set high. As the minutes ticked away, and the temperature dropped and the dew point climbed, I was forced to ponder my fashion choice of cargo shorts and cotton graphic tee. By 12:30 AM I was shivering, so I trekked back through the long wet blades of grass to my truck to retrieve an old windbreaker jacket that I had pressed into service as a cargo tarp. It was then too that I came to ponder the value of my Merrell hiking boots, since my feet were soaking wet inside the Nike’s I had worn instead. On the return walk to my tripod and folding chair, I became really grateful for those red and green beam flashlights I’d bought last year,..they were still at home in my gear pack. As I approached my tripod, I grabbed one of it’s three wet legs, and made sure my camera was still aimed at the Perseus constellation (where the meteors would be coming from) I was grateful I had made the back and forth stretch to my Colorado relatively unscathed. I could now feel the warmth starting to radiate from my tattered jacket, so I said a little silent prayer, thankful for it’s presence. It was time to settle back in for the continuing meteor show, so I sat down.. in my apparently sodden chair! Seconds later one of the learned star gazing guys shouted; “Oh, there’s goes a great one!”, as we all jumped to our feet to click our camera shutters. When I say “we all”, I actually mean me, since the rest of the photographers were using their remotes. Oh, I have a remote too, but it was keeping my red and green beam flashlights company at home! There at my tripod I stood at the ready, anticipating the next blazing coppery streak across the sky. Sometime around 1:45 AM another of the guys yelled, “there overhead!”. It was a magnificent blue streaker, perfect in it’s brilliance. It was also not in the direction that my camera was pointed. I continued my stand at my camera, despite the chilly temps and my trembling legs and wet backside. By 2:30 AM the entire group had folded, literally folded up their gear, and schlepped everything back to our vehicles. I’m sure they were all as excited as I was to get back home to our warm dry computer chairs to inspect our images! By 4:00 I had reviewed my images and processed my best shot through Photoshop! I was so proud, red streaking light! It’s the best image I’ve ever captured, … of a plane in the 2:00 AM early morning sky!
An attempt to capture an image of the Perseid meteors
Ultimately I’d like to stress the following point, despite the tenor of this blog post. Any adventure that involves other photographers who are also seeking to capture images and doing it together, is a good time! It’s always fun to be among ‘birds of a feather’. We rejoice together at our successes, and laugh together at our mishaps, goofs and failures. We learn from each other, and push each other to beyond the boundaries that hold us back. It reminds us that we’re not doing any of these pursuits alone, that we are all photographers, and enjoying our art and work is what keeps us creative. “No man is an island”!
Light and Love – Leslie