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Posts tagged “Sky

Sky Fall

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A little strip of fall color and sky at Sedgwick County Park, Wichita, Ks.


Warhawk

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The mighty P-40 Warhawk, flown by the Commemorative Air Force.   The P-40 first flew in 1938, it was the third most-produced American fighter of World War II, after the P-51 and P-47.   Warhawks served all over the world in combat during the war.   I had never seen one in person, but thankfully one was on hand for the Wichita Flight Festival this year.    The P-40 took off in pursuit of the Japanese fighters in the Tora Tora Tora show, it was great.   Beautiful plane.   When parked, it was roped off in a way that severely limited the angles from which it could be photographed.  I would have loved to have been able to get around in front of it as well.

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The Fires Of Sunset

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Sunset storm in Wichita, Kansas  about an hour ago.  My next few posts were supposed to be airshow photos, but this sky thing happened tonight so I ran out for a quick snap.


Blue Evening At The Keeper Of The Plains

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Blackbear Bosin’s The Keeper of the Plains, located at the confluence of the Big & Little Arkansas rivers in the heart of my home town, Wichita, Ks.   The sky looked interesting this particular evening so I drove down to the Keeper and loitered about.   After getting soaked by a brief rain shower, things started to improve.   I have some images with more dramatic clouds, but I really liked the deep blue evening sky color in this one, contrasted with the artificially lit sculpture.   There are a lot of power lines in the area, along with a couple of tall suspension bridge towers (interesting subject for photos as well) so it is sometimes a challenge to frame the sculpture to exclude all those things.


The Backyard Sky

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There were some fairly interesting clouds in the area yesterday evening, as small rain showers popped up here and there.  One was blocking the western sun, so I spent some time in the back yard shooting.   I have a dream to someday live  in a house with mostly unobstructed views to the horizon, at least towards the west, with perhaps some rolling hills and/or an interesting tree or two for foreground interest.   Unfortunately that is not the case at present.  Still, the clouds are nice no matter the setting.

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I kind of like the one above in black and white.

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And finally…

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Five Balloons

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Did you ever work on a project, only to find at the end it did not turn out nearly so brilliant as you had convinced yourself it would be?   Alas, I give you Five Balloons.   There were going to be six balloons, but we at the Warped Prism have suffered budget cuts like everyone else.   All the tools were pulled out for this one….Wolverine slide converter, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, and Perfect Photo Suite 7.   It’s still photography….sort of.    Kinda.    Happy Friday!


Cloudscape

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This is from a slide, probably the late 1980’s.   There were some incredible clouds forming right overhead, lit up in shades of bright orange by the setting sun.   I remember I was having to shoot basically straight overhead, no foreground possible.   This was one of the most vividly colorful cloud displays I can ever recall witnessing.


Comet Ahoy!

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I feel a little stupid.   It turns out that I did manage to capture Comet Pan Starrs after all.   After going back and studying a few of the frames I took near the end of last weeks Tuesday night vigil, I saw something.   On any of the exposures 1 second in length or longer, there it was!   I never saw it with the naked eye, but my Sigmas 72mm diameter (approx.)  200mm focal length lens apparently captured enough light for success.   It’s a good thing I wasn’t chewing gum a few minutes ago when I discovered this fact, I might have swallowed it.   Oh yeah, that’s the comet there in the upper left.  See it?  Better late than never I guess.

I got about 3 or 4 frames with the comet and my planned moon/windmill combo, but the composition is off, the comet is very weak, and they just don’t look good.  The image above looks much better, it was one of the last I took while walking back to the car, not even knowing the comet was in there.   Crazy times we live in.


In Search Of Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS)

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I had a plan last night.   I had my location selected, with an interesting foreground object (windmill).   The previsualized shot would be windmill silhouette,  comet Pan Starrs, and the almost new 1%-2% illuminated sliver of the moon, hanging there like a cosmic smiley face.    It would have been glorious!  Alas, although the moon became visible as expected, where expected, the comet did not.   I was unable to see it, even with my small binoculars.   I had noticed a high thin layer of hazy clouds as the light dimmed, I suspect those were the reason the comet was not visible.   Even though the sky looks clear in these photos, I could see through the binoculars there was a high haze.  I should also note that in my original camera position, the trees you see here were not obscuring my view.

As I was walking back to my car, I noticed a fair amount of earthshine becoming visible on the moon, so grabbed a couple of moody shots of that.  (Earthshine is sunlight reflected from the earth back to the night side of the moon. )   It was fun to be out shooting, even if the comet was a no show.   Online this morning, I’ve seen several images similar to the one I envisioned, not everyone struck out last night.

 

Here’s a second moody moonset-with-earthshine image:

 

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And finally, here’s a photo taken shortly after the first image posted.    I cropped it tighter to show you….what is that streak near the moon?   Could it be….is that the comet?!

 

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No, sorry, its just the contrail of a high flying jet aircraft.   I thought about trying to pass it off as the comet but figured the astrophotography police would bust me for it right away.  I’m thinking of trying for a comet shot again tonight or at least sometime this week.   The windmill will still be there.

 


Hawk Road

 

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Prior to stopping at Sunset Road, described in my last two posts, on Sunday we first stopped at Hawk Road.   There was a wind farm in the distance, and  this is the one image from that stop that I kind of liked.  This is somewhat strange, because I generally despise power lines.   Sometimes though, if they are out in the country, receding into the distance, on old school T shaped poles ….they kind of work.   I may never admit to that again!


Sunset Road No. 2

 

 

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Yesterday I posted about the uncanny appearance of the aptly named “Sunset Road” on a trip home last Sunday.   This is the last image from that stop.   Usually I try and avoid man-made objects in a landscape, other than something  like a windmill or barn, but for some reason I included our car in this one.   I had been in front of the car a couple minutes earlier, shooting towards the sunset.   Once I got these up on the computer,  I liked the sky in this one better.  Amazing how much a sunset sky can change during two minutes.


Sunset at the Lake

 

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Mother nature must have known I needed new material.   The skies were interesting this weekend so I headed out to Sedgwick County Park in Wichita.  One of my favorite spots near the windmill was not working, the sunset was directly behind a big old ugly transmitter tower.   As sometimes happens, this turned out to be a fortunate turn of events as it forced me to find a new, better location from which to admire this handsome sunset.


Waiting for Fireworks

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Once again I am shooting for the Wichita Riverfest photo contest.   Using Google Earth I drew some lines based on the launch sites  and knew where I wanted to set up this year.   Going by previous years, I decided when to arrive in order to secure my spot.   Unfortunately, the  rainy and cool weather earlier in the day must have thinned the crowds.  I found myself with one and a half hours of waiting.  Early on it was a lonely vigil.   I was almost directly under a huge steel power line tower, and half expected security from the power company to come out to get rid of me.   Turns out no one ever spoke to me except one guy who asked me “What time do the firecrackers start?”  🙂

What to do while waiting?  I shot a few bracketed sets here, one of which produced  a nice little HDR image with the rising moon above the clouds.    This image will not be in the contest, as it doesn’t really show any of the Riverfest.   (HDR is probably a no-no anyway for the contest.)

Once the show finally started, the fireworks rose above the saddle in Exploration Place across the river as expected.  I can’t post any of those until after the contest concludes.


Memorial Day 2012

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Fate, or a higher power guided my wife and I to a beautiful Memorial Day display at the cemetery in the small town of Benton, Kansas today.  When I saw the cross shaped flare coming through the flag on this image, I figured it might be more than luck.   I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday.  Thank you to all who have served and sacrificed to defend our freedom.


Storm Sky No.2

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I learned a couple of  things last Saturday.   1. When running around in a storm, it might be a good idea to check the front of the lens for water droplets before shooting.  2. Hail is cold when striking the body.


Storm Sky No.1

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Usually when there is threatening weather, you will find yours truly at home, where all good citizens are supposed to go when the skies turn angry.  Last Saturday however, things did not turn out that way.  My wife and I had planned on a little trip out in the country to find and photograph a particular barn I knew about.   Severe thunderstorms developed west of Wichita however, and I decided the responsible thing to do would be to take a short drive out to the park where I often photograph, which is much closer to home than the planned barn trip.  (Responsible is a relative term, I was running around with my tripod near a tall steel windmill, with lightning in the area.)   The image above is from the park.   Expecting to go home at that point, my wife surprised me by suggesting we drive west, out where we had seen some golden wheat fields earlier in the weekend.  West would be  driving into the storm, but I love a challenge.  (Turns out she did not know the storms had been dropping tornadoes one county to the west.)   We hit a couple more locations, on one I found myself under some gigantic power line towers.  I must be an idiot.  Anyhow, I will post more as the week goes by.  No photographers, or their spouses, were hurt during this excursion.


Supermoon No. 2

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I had waited about 20 minutes past the actual time of moonrise for it to rise high enough to become visible through distant clouds.  Then there was no time to rest as the sky darkened, and the moon brightened.   The image above is the result of a bracketed set of 5 exposures run through Photomatix.   This is the best it could do with the rapidly expanding dynamic range of the scene- at least with what I gave the program to work with.   I thought this had a rather atmospheric mood,  although it is beginning to creep into the realm of the surreal.   Alright, I confess it was this one that made my wife go “oooooh , That one!” when she saw it, so I figured I better post it.


Supermoon No. 1

 

 

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As you may have seen in the news, Saturday night’s full moon was extra special.  Our moon’s orbit around the earth is somewhat elliptical, so it is closer to us at certain times.  When those close approaches happen to coincide with the proper alignment with the sun for a full moon, we get a “supermoon”, which appears larger than at other times.    This windmill image was no accident, I used a fantastic app on my iPad called The Photographer’s Ephemeris.   You can stick a pin in the app’s map and it will project lines to show you exactly where the sun and moon will rise and set on the horizon.  I had a couple of ideas on where to position myself for Saturday’s moonrise, the app helped me know exactly where to be to get the image I had in mind.   This app gets the Warped Prism seal of approval!

Once the moon rose high enough to become visible through distant clouds and haze, there was a remarkably short time to work.  This is an HDR image processed through Photomatix, then some tweaks in Lightroom.  I have a small handful of ‘keepers’, but have found it really difficult to choose what to post.


Easter Sunrise

 

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Last Sunday’s sunrise over Table Rock Lake in the Missouri Ozarks.


Conjunction

 

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The western sky has been interesting this month.  Once again, we had Venus and Jupiter shining brightly,  this time joined by the crescent moon.   That’s Venus next to the moon, with Jupiter at the bottom of the frame in the image above.   I felt it was my duty to run out and shoot a few frames for the record.  Venus is close to it’s maximum brightness, just incredibly bright in the evening sky.

 


In Search Of A More Perfect Sunset

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This one looked very  promising.  The windmill was even pleasingly aligned.  But alas, the hoped for super-spectacularness did not unfold.  But it was still pretty, just in a more subtle fashion than I had initially hoped.


Patience Pays No. 2

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The other ‘keeper’ from last weeks sunset excursion.   As I said in the previous post, this color only appeared 15 minutes after actual sunset – I had almost packed up and left the area.


Patience Pays

 

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The weather was unseasonably warm yesterday, so I decided to drive out to a local park in case the sunset was interesting.  It wasn’t at first.  I shot for awhile, but saw none of the pinks or reds I was hoping for.  I waited a full 15 minutes after sunset, and still all I had was blues and grays.   I removed the camera from the tripod, collapsed the tripod, and prepared to walk back to the car.   Then I saw, through the trees on the southern horizon a little bit of pinkish clouds.   Sure enough, there was some pink in a cloud to the north as well, color that hadn’t been there a minute before.   I decided to wait for a minute….and quickly the sky to the west began to colorize alarmingly quickly.    I set back up and shot like crazy for the 5 minutes or so it lasted.   I already knew this as a guiding principle – you need to wait for awhile after sunset to see what develops.  It was just that this time it really looked like nothing would happen.   Wrong!   Patience pays off in situations like this, don’t pack up too quickly.

Something else that is illustrated by this image is that it is possible to shoot something like this in an urban setting.   The windmill is set on a small hill, which I used to block the biking path, lake, road, cars, joggers, and tall light poles beyond.  Not that there’s anything wrong with those subjects, but that was not what I was after this evening.  All that matters is what is in the frame.

This is a three exposure HDR, hopefully not overcooked.  The only thing I could have wished different was that the bladed wheel at the top of the windmill was turned more in profile.   I tried my telekinetic powers, but the thing wouldn’t budge.   You can’t have everything.


Fiery Sky

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A fiery sunset behind one of the bridge towers in downtown Wichita.   Some people think the design of this pedestrian suspension bridge  was overdone, overpowering the site with it’s tall dual towers.   I find it pleasing and a favorite photographic subject that I am drawn to again and again.  If nothing else, I know it looks very interesting  in the fog, or with a spectacular sunset behind it.