Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Hey folks! You may remember a couple months ago (almost to the day), I mentioned that I went over to “Eastern” Washington (I used quotes because, geographically, “central” would have been more accurate, but the term basically means east of the Cascade crest) for a day and a night. I went on for a little while about how pretty it actually was over there, and I posted a shot that was, and essentially still is, the only one I’ve actually snagged out of that set and processed and tossed online. That occurred me to me recently, and I realized that I should really take the time to go through those some more, and start tossing them into the mix.
Yeah, well, that still hasn’t really happened. BUT, I did spend a few minutes last night looking through them. Not ALL of them, but at least the ones that look like this one. One of the nice things about camping, in the desert specifically, is that you get to see a lot of stars. I happened to wake up in the middle of the night anyway, so I decided to fart around outside for awhile. It was really gorgeous out there, you could see the milky way and everything, and there were a couple spots in the sky where you could see a little bit of city glow. In this particular picture, the glow is coming from Wenatchee, although in the other direction you could see (much more dimly) something else, Ellensburg maybe? Don’t know.
So, I took some star pics. I got some shots of the milky way and all that. And shots like this. Turns out I’m not actually sure my camera allows me to set exposure times longer than 30 seconds. Or at least, I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I think there’s a mode where you can hold it open as long as you want, but I think that requires holding down the shutter button, which would have shaken the camera. I have a remote control, but that’s just for starting the exposure, but then it uses the settings you’ve got set. I’m sure they make little cable things that you can hold down a button on without shaking the camera, but I don’t have one. So, I was restricted to whatever I could get to turn out by opening up the aperture all the way, cranking the ISO up (I had it set at 800), and exposing for 30 seconds. And this is what you get.
As I was looking through these shots, I realized that my sensor has a few hot pixels on it. These turned up as little dots that were pure red or pure blue. I cheated a bit and used Picasa’s Retouch feature to erase them where I could, but sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was actually removing hot pixels or stars, so I probably missed a couple and took out a couple that weren’t actually what I thought they were. But whatever, not important. I haven’t yet done enough analysis to figure out if it was *actual* hot pixels (as in, pixels that always say they were 100% exposed), or if it was just random sensor noise due to the dark conditions and super long shutter speeds. (ie, I haven’t checked if the same pixels came out hot in every frame, and I haven’t checked if I get any spots if I do a long exposure in complete darkness. Honestly, I’m not sure I will either, I don’t think I care enough.)
Anyway, here you go, here’s what it looked like from where I was camping. Now you know just what it was like. It’s almost like you were sitting right there next to me in the tent. Wow, this just got a little bit awkward, didn’t it?
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 30 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 800. Focal length: 11mm.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Hey everyone! Earlier this week, I mentioned that, due to forecasted crappy weather in the Cascades, I ended up heading across the mountains, out to the desert for a night. I still haven’t had a chance to look through all the pics I got, but there are definitely some decent ones. You may also remember me mentioning that I was surprised to see that there’s some really pretty stuff out there. Now you can start to get an idea what I was talking about. It was really nice!
This is taken near the top of Moses Coulee, which is a little ways east of Wenatchee. This spot is actually just up the canyon from the (little) town of Palisades. Driving up the canyon is definitely worth the time – there are these huge basalt walls the whole way up, and most of the canyon is irrigated, so the floor is carpeted with vibrant green crops. It’s a really pretty juxtaposition, it’s truly gorgeous in the late afternoon when the sun is nice and golden. (Or, early in the morning, as I also found out.) As you get nearer to the top of the canyon, the farm (and ranch) lands end, the road turns to dirt, and you get back to natural vegetation. The whole area was deserted when we were there, despite the fact that it was Labor Day Weekend, so we had our choice of hundreds of nice spots to lay down our camp. (We tossed around the idea of backpacking in somewhere, but it was getting late, we didn’t do our research beforehand, and a lot of the land was actually privately owned, so we figured it wasn’t worth the effort.) We very nearly chose a spot right smack in the middle of that big valley floor that you’re looking at, but instead we ended up a little further down the canyon, that still had sunlight until an hour or two after this picture was taken (and also had the benefit of a nice early sunrise).
Moses Coulee is part of the larger land area called the “Channeled Scablands”, which take up a significant portion of central Washington state. If you aren’t already familiar with the area, I strongly urge you to do some reading about it (just type “channeled scablands” into your favorite search engine to get started), it’s really fascinating. Basically, the whole landscape was torn completely to shreds during the last ice age. There was a huge lake in western Montana (Glacial Lake Missoula) that would repeatedly form due to ice blocking off the drainage. Eventually (every 50 years or so) the water would overwhelm the plug, and kajillions of gallons of water would come rushing over all of the Idaho panhandle and Washington state. The flow was absolutely ridiculous, the entire area would get covered in a couple hundred feet of water in the matter of a couple days or something like that (I’m completely making up all these details, but they’re available all over the place). During these flood periods, the spot now known as “Dry Falls” became the largest known waterfall to ever flow on the planet – 3 and a half miles long, falling 400 feet. Apparently the river was about 300 feet deep, travelling around 65 miles per hour when it hit the falls. According to Wikipedia, the flow of water over the falls was equal to **10 TIMES** the TOTAL flow of all modern-day rivers COMBINED. That’s pretty ridiculous. And, this is the result. Cool stuff!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. 1/200s, f/4.5, ISO 200. Focal length: 11mm.