Sunday, May 4, 2014


The long winter had taken its toll on millions here in the northeast, lasting longer than we had hoped for.  Springtime is now upon us and a freshness is in the air, a time for waking as if from a long slumber.  

A long pause can change the outlook of an individual.  A long hard look at things almost always creates change.  Last year's hardships and the near death winter brings to the landscape makes the vernal season especially poignant. 

Nightfly Photography and this blog are no longer exclusively about analog astrophotography.  A change derived from a hard look at all things that matter to me and a new found freedom of expression in my work. For 35 years astronomy as an endeavor has been my life's avocation; astrophotography, an expression of the experience.  Last years wake-up call spun me out of control as I faced an episode of mortality.  The work I had hoped to capture before becoming inanimate is now before me.  I lay the groundwork for the finest hour, a positive outlook for creativity in various forms.  

Our short tenure in the immensity of time is too brief to not be engaged fully in what you love and the various ways of expressing that love.  Writing, photography, poetry, all expressions of the human endeavor to celebrate our existence is this grand universe.  Perhaps that is a lofty goal.  Lofty or not, it is simply the ideal I will strive for.  

Furthermore, the discussion will not be simply about technique or equipment.  We will have time for that.  There will be more about the images themselves and how they strike us, how they are internalized.  We will discuss authors, poets, and artists, as well as science, philosophy, and the humanities, mostly within the context of the human response to visual and modern photographic interpretations.

May Morning Milky Way
A few mornings ago, the skies had cleared allowing an opportunity, if one was willing to leave a warm bed, to observe and photograph our summer Milky Way.  I have been experimenting with my new digital camera and fast wide-angle lens.  Utilizing the equatorial mount in the observatory to piggyback the arrangement, I was able to capture, among others, the above image.

I was flabbergasted by how vivid the images were, owing to the dark skies at my home in eastern Maine.  I felt like a writer who had just found the right words for an expression, a singer for a song.  The sky was as dark as it had been in the last few years with Sky Quality Meter reading of 21.6 Mags/Sq-Arc-Sec at the zenith.  Even towards the horizon, the various dark nebulae in Ophiuchus were instantly obvious.  The Great Star Cloud in Sagittarius blazed brightly, illuminating anything painted white in my front yard, not the least, my home.  Perhaps eyesight is not as good over 40, but I was seeing beyond what normally would be considered average for a dark rural sky.  My south horizon does not look over any communities, indeed it looks out over mostly ocean.  That's good if we are shooting in that direction as the above photo testifies.  

I am glad I left the comfort of my bed to witness what is perhaps the grandest object we can behold. The summer Milky Way.  It ratifies an agreement made years ago, to forego living in the city for a lifestyle devoted to being in the simple presence of the majestic.  The limitations of that choice are plentiful, but that decision has always been upheld as I return to bed when twilight strikes my pillow.


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