Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shabonna Twilight/Star trails/Moon rise

Had quite a fun little solo-excursion to Lake Shabonna this evening after cabin fever set in around 3 PM. I got out there at an awkward hour, right as the sun was setting where the lighting is at kind of a useless point. It's too bright for any twilight imagery, but too dark for any real landscape photography. That being the case, I walked the length of the dam on the south end of the lake and watched the sun go down, and then slowly walked back as it got darker. Once I got back to my car, I decided to drive around to another area where I shot star trails on my first ever trip out there a couple of years ago. (Flickr set from that first trip) That very last photo is what I was looking for.

Apparently I overshot the target location, but stumbled upon an area that I had either never been, or never appreciated. I found what would be a great sunset viewing location, and what turned out to be a great place to shoot a few twilight photos of a little bend in the lake. The geese were insane, flying over in huge clusters while I tried a few photos from this platform.

Eventually I made my way down to what I thought was going to be a little peninsula in the lake where I could walk out and start shooting star trails. I didn't find that, and ended up finding a little trail that led into the woods, and eventually into a big clearing with a nice view of both the main portion of the lake, and that little inlet that I was shooting moments before. I once again high-fived my ability to ignore the sounds in the darkness as I grabbed my flashlight and set off into the woods in the falling darkness. By the time I headed back to my car it would be completely dark outside.

I found a nice angle for shooting star trails, looking over a picnic bench and some trees, with the very bright Venus slowly setting toward the horizon. I only shot for an hour or so, before I got bored with the spot and started walking around some more. Eventually the cold reached my core, and it was time to start heading back to the car. I was literally ten feet from my car when I saw something red coming up over the trees way across the lake, and soon realized this was the massive, almost full moon. It's ridiculous how many times I set out on these photo trips, whether they are weather, sky, or landscape related, spend multiple hours out shooting what I think is what I set out for, only to happen upon something that completely steals the show just as I have called it a day. The moon slowly rose above the trees, casting an orange and red glow on the partially frozen lake as I danced a happy dance to stay warm. I ran around the shore for a few minutes looking for additional angles, before deciding that I had enough and was ready to return to the warm car to start thawing. I was home in thirty minutes with a mug of hot cocoa with cinnamon, and began going through the photos.

I spent some time yesterday updating the actual website, namely creating a 2011 accounts page with all of my weather related excursions, and in doing so realized how little I had posted this fall. It's definitely time to get the winter astro-photography season started. I'll be heading back down to Champaign-Urbana on Tuesday, so I'm sure a few visits to Block are in store.

This is that first platform where I shot the twilight over the inlet. There's a big wooden deck with a couple of benches and a picnic table.

 Moonrise time!

 Star trails over the lake. Venus is the brighter spot just above the lake in the middle.

1 comment:

Dann Cianca said...

Looks warm there. Lol.