Friday, March 5, 2010

Same stuff, different night and a rare negative write up on this upcoming wx week.

Another night spent outdoors. I think this may have been one of my favorite. I don't know. I didn't really do anything early enough to play with twilight which is my favorite time to be shooting, but I managed to get some decent lighting effects with the city tonight. I had midterms all this week and a couple bigger assignments due, so I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. All went very well however, and I managed to get in a major nap this afternoon. I woke up around sunset and was itching to get out there. I'm heading back to Champaign for the week tomorrow afternoon for our very early spring break, so I cleaned some stuff out of the fridge for a quick dinner to empty it out and was on my way.

I more or less had an idea of what I wanted to accomplish, and didn't really drive far. I went back to my favorite place and parked right in the middle of the DeKalb County wind farm. I managed to find a really nice gravel road that has two of the massive turbines right next to the road on either side so I can get up and close without actually trespassing and giving anyone any reason to stop me. I did almost have a semi-run in at one point. I was finishing up a longer star trail session and headlights appeared behind me down the service vehicles only road coming toward me. I was done at this point, and his high beams would blow out any images coming up anyway so I just packed it up and got in my car and quickly took off. Of course, I wasn't doing anything illegal, but I just figure if possible I'll just eliminate any even small potential for unnecessary trouble. Anyway, once I started driving they turned around and went back the other way, two turbines away. They were closer than I realized! High beams will do that I suppose.

Ah well. Not a lot of writing necessary for these images. After the last two outings they're pretty well self-explanatory. The air traffic around here is actually starting to get really annoying. One or two planes crossing the path is fine I suppose, but when it's one after another it really starts to become a distraction from the star trails in the image. I decided to use it to my advantage in the first shot, however.

This is facing the city of Chicago, which is giving off the light pollution creating the actually pretty cool lighting. In DeKalb here I'm about 50 miles due west of downtown Chicago, but the suburbs are only a 25-30 mile drive so the "glow" from the city is pretty obvious in the open here. Also worth noting as I said is the incredible air traffic coming from the city. At any given time there are probably 20 planes all around my flashing around. Cool, but sometimes very annoying when doing these shots. I was alright with this case as I was wanting to show it all originating from the city to the east.

This time, looking west. This is where the air traffic gets annoying. I don't know. Perhaps no one else will notice or be bothered by it. I just feel like when doing star trails there are enough white lines going across the image, and I'd prefer they all be uniform without these other random chaotic paths throwing it off.

I had visualized this image all week and was really wanting to give it a try. It didn't turn out quite as I wanted, but I'm still pleased I suppose. As pleased as I'll ever get with my own stuff. I might try and work on it more later on, or might just leave it at that. I'd like to get more sky somehow, and less dash. But, you can't get as much sky as you'd think you could when you're trying to include the dash lights too. The windshield looks pretty big until you try doing something like this and it quickly shrinks up. Oh yeah, and go away airplanes. I think that might be the single most annoying thing to me about this image. Again, perhaps some of you four readers might actually think it adds to the photo, who knows. Not like I can tell him to divert his path, and trying again later won't work because there are 50 more waiting to come right after him. Ah well! I'm honestly just itching to get up to the lake in Wisconsin to mess with this more. The optics are better up there, and the terrain lends itself to far far better foregrounds in photos. Really stretching here. Hmm, flat bare field, or flat bare field with a tree next to it. That's why I'm always going back to the wind farm. It's the closest thing to terrain I can find around here. Storm chasing and night photography are like inverses when it comes to terrain I guess. I'll pull my face off trying to find a flat field while chasing a supercell thunderstorm, but when I'm out at night it's like, can I buy a freaking hill or two?

I haven't written anything meteorology related in quite some time, but that's because there is nothing to write about. Some are getting excited about a storm system late this weekend in the southern plains but I just don't see it. Perhaps if I lived in Oklahoma or Texas I'd keep a bigger eye on it, but I don't. It does hold the potential for some thunderstorms, and perhaps a couple hailers but I'd be hard pressed to believe there will be tornadoes anytime this weekend. I really hope for the sanity of a few chasers out there that I am proven wrong, but I think people are really going to have to be patient this year. El Nino is still in effect, so the constant southward trend with storm systems is not a fluke with this weekends storm. I usually try and be optimistic for a gear tester or two in March, but I don't know that this will happen before April this year. I do feel April could be a big month in 2010, but that's three weeks away. For now, I think I'll be spending a lot more nights at the wind farm than I will worrying about a potential storm chase.

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